Yesterday marked a major milestone for everyone’s favorite broadband gaming service. Launched back in 2005, Gametap was born out of the concept of doing what Turner Broadcasting has done for other businesses – acquiring rights to libraries of content, then programming that content in new and lucrative ways. Now, with yesterday’s launch, Gametap is adding to that subscription model by offering a rotating selection of free games to play from their web site, as well as simultaneous access to new releases (Lara Croft’s latest). There is now also a direct digital download service where you can download to own games. David Reid, Gametap’s VP of Marketing, sums it up this way:
It’s really hard to explain to someone what 900 of the greatest games of all time in one place means.
My team has been working with Gametap for several months now integrating advertising into both their new and improved web site as well as their new lite and existing deluxe player. It’s been an exciting project – it’s always fun to do work where it involves gaming! And did I mention that there will soon be a Mac client too – said to be by late Summer according to one of the Joystiq articles! Woohoo!
More coverage here:
A colleague has pointed out that our hometown Atlanta Journal Constitution (free registration required) has a more in-depth story on Pipeline moving to a free product. Read ‘CNN’s Pipeline will Stream for Free.‘
In a story in today’s Wall Street Journal (free content) today that focuses on a new CNN initiative with Internet Broadcasting, a Minneapolis-based company that publishes the web sites for 70 local television stations, CNN has secured rights to use local stories from these affiliates, and will in turn provide content to them. As part of the deal, CNN is also taking a minority equity stake in the company. But an interesting tidbit can be found in the last paragraph of the article:
This summer, CNN also is planning to roll out a redesigned Web site that makes all its live and archived video content available free, shifting the subscription model to an advertising model.
And yes, my team has been working tirelessly on this effort for the last six months or more. I believe it’s a game-changer – the product formerly known as Pipeline (reviewed by PC Magazine at launch as ‘the most impressive video offering the Web has ever seen’) is moving to a free model, and when news is happening, I can’t imagine anyone not turning to this product if they don’t have direct access to a television but are online.
The article also talks at length about how much local market online advertising has grown relative to the overall interactive business, something on the order of 200% v. 70% over the last few years according to eMarketer stats cited in the story. This deal helps CNN in this area, and ideally increases traffic (and advertising rates) for both properties. By way of comparison, the article points out that IB has an audience of 13mm, versus CNN.com’s 27.9, and Yahoo and MSNBC.com’s 33.1mm.
Meant to post this a while back. I was in San Francisco for the recent Ad:Tech Conference. This was the view from the hallway of my hotel- an amazing panorama from the Golden Gate Bridge (far left, out of frame) to the Transamerica Building, Coit Tower, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge (far right, out of frame). A truly amazing view. The show was excellent as well, and I spoke to some very bright folks involved in the burgeoning ad business. DoubleClick was showing off their Exchange product and new logo (very Web 2.0 green), there were more ad networks than you could shake a stick at, and video ad syndication plays were everywhere.
So the news broke earlier this week that everyone’s favorite broadband gaming site, Turner’s very own GameTap is expanding their offering to include free-to-play games in an ad-supported environment. You can guess that my team has been actively working on this project for a while. It’s pretty exciting. Much like the varying levels of ‘membership’ on services like Xbox Live, GameTap will offer non-paying, non-registered users access to some games, playable from a light-weight version of their ‘grandaddy’ client. General Manager Stu Snyder (who was just promoted yesterday to a new role as executive vice president and chief operating officer of animation, young adults & kids media in addition to his GameTap role) said it this way in the Business Week story:
“With 2 to 3 million uniques per month, we realized we weren’t monetizing that many uniques to our website,” he says. “We kind of looked back and said, ‘gee, we should [offer an ad-supported version].’ Also, our demographic was looking for an easy way to play games without making a huge time commitment or financial commitment. So we figured why not have all options for all gamers?”
Other content becomes available with a free registration, and users can graduate to the full product and 800+ games with a full subscription. We have also been working to support an ad-supported version of the large range of video content previously only available in the full client known as Gametap TV. I think this ad-supported model has some real legs! Coverage of the project has been widespread, from Business Week, Ars Technica, Kotaku, and the San Jose Mercury News.