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Simulmedia to Integrate Premium Video Game Ads, Welcomes EA’s Dave Madden to Lead the Efforts

Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan  |  Executive Chairman
Published: Jul. 27, 2020

We are augmenting our linear TV ad platform to include the distribution of permissioned, video ads in premium console-driven video games.

To that end, Simulmedia is excited to announce a strategic extension of our business and an exciting new hire to lead it.

Dave Madden, EA's former head of in-game advertising and brand partnerships

Dave Madden, has joined Simulmedia as EVP/ Games & OTT.

While we have long led the market in providing advertisers with automated, data-driven buying across all of the top 115 national broadcast and cable TV networks in the US, our advertising clients have urged us to deliver performance and reach beyond the audiences that watch linear television. They also want high-reaching video streaming channels to be available on our platform, and premium video gaming represents an enormous opportunity to do just that.

Playing video games is one of the largest and fastest growing media activities for young adults and teens in almost every major market in the world. We know that integrating high quality video advertising into these environments will take a thoughtful approach, a deep understanding of gamer sentiment, and critical technology developments to ensure uncompromising privacy protection, frequency control and trusted audience measurements.

We have spent the past 10-plus years bringing a digital approach to TV advertising to solve similar challenges, and Dave Madden has more experience than any other executive in the world in introducing successful, gamer-friendly ad formats into premium video game environments.

Dave has been pioneering player friendly models for brands to interact with gamers for two decades, first with WildTangent, the company that invented Brand Boost, the "rewarded ad" for games, and then as the head of Electronic Arts advertising/sponsorship and brand partnerships. His teams have built cutting edge partnerships with global brands such as Coca Cola, Gatorade, McDonalds, Unilever, P&G, Adidas and Nike across games including EA Sports, FIFA, Battlefield and The Sims, as well as establishing industry leading eSports sponsorships, including the first ever virtual stadium in competitive gaming for Pizza Hut in the Madden 20 NFL Championship Series.

We believe that this could be a massive market opportunity. John Frelinghuysen of LEK Consulting projects that ads in premium video games could represent a $3-5 billion market in the US in five years.

Premium video ad initiatives

First, we are spending a lot of time talking and listening to advertisers, publishers, platforms and, most importantly, gamers to understand how to best accomplish the integration of TV advertising and premium video gaming.

Second, we have begun running pilot tests delivering opt-in, rewarded video ads within premium game environments to better understand how gamers will respond to them.

Third, we are working with Nielsen to incorporate their smart TV viewership data into our new metrics as a way to help advertisers and publishers better understand how video game audiences compare to TV.

And fourth, we have begun significant development efforts to build out the needed infrastructure to deliver high value advertising in premium gaming environments and to insure not only the protection of gamer privacy and publisher proprietary data, but to avoid many of the problems of today’s programmatic digital ad ecosystem, including receiving irrelevant, redundant ads, finding yourself retargeted, and turning over delivery decisions to bidders in an auction.

What clients are saying about premium video ads:

“Experian is always interested in reaching more new customers in engaging, fun, premium media environments, especially younger audiences that are harder to reach on TV,” said Steve Hartmann, Head of Integrated Marketing at Experian. “We work with Simulmedia to help deliver our television advertising and are looking forward to supporting its new efforts to extend its platform, measurement and distribution to the enormous audiences playing Triple-A video games.”

“An emerging challenge for many advertisers is understanding how their video game audiences compare to those they reach on linear TV,” said Kelly Abcarian, general manager, Advanced Video Advertising, Nielsen. “With the addition of our smart TV viewership data into Simulmedia’s new premium video game ads metrics, we are helping build transparent and robust metrics for one of the media industry’s fastest-growing new markets. With this latest offering, Simulmedia is serving a specific market need by delivering advertisers a new, unique and verified ad inventory that connects with consumers wherever they are consuming content.”

I expect many of you reading may be asking, “When will this in-game inventory be available?” While we’re eager to scale it, for now we’re completely focused on delivering an experience that’s right for gamers, advertisers, studios, publishers and hardware manufacturers. A handful of them already have been working with us for months to help us build something that will work broadly. We’re so grateful for their support and commitment.

Keep your eyes peeled on these pages for more information and thanks for reading.

Click here to read The Wall Street Journal's coverage of Simulmedia integrating TV ads into console games.