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Sydney, Australia – Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced it will team with Nielsen Entertainment to develop a new initiative that, for the first time, will allow video game companies to supply advertisers with audience measurement metrics to help them assess the impact of in-game ad exposure. The new initiative will provide tools for advertisers to effectively measure everything from ad exposure to demographics to audience recall when it comes to video game use. The two companies announced the new initiative today at a press briefing at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. Activision and Nielsen Entertainment also released today the results of a major research survey titled, “Video Game Habits: A Comprehensive Examination of Gamer Demographics and Behaviour in U.S. Television Households." The study, which surveyed nearly one thousand young men and boys between the ages of 8 and 34 from a nationally-representative sample of Nielsen TV households about their video game playing and television viewing habits, is the most comprehensive of its kind to date. Survey interviews were conducted from February 10 – 19, 2004.
Among the study's key findings: Ø Three-quarters of Nielsen TV households with a male between ages 8-34 own a video game system. Ø TV viewership among male gamers aged 18-34 appears to be slightly less than men aged 18-34 in general. Ø Video gaming does not appear to be affecting TV viewership among younger male gamers 8-17. Ø In-game ad recall is significant, with over one quarter of active gamers recalling ads from the last game they played. Ø Perceptions of in-game advertising are quite positive, with heavy gamers having the most positive impressions. Ø In-game advertising is persuasive, as one-third of respondents say in-game ads help them decide which products to buy.
Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision, said, “The video game industry is one of today's fastest growing entertainment businesses today, and videogames will soon be as mainstream an advertising medium as television. Given the tremendous popularity of the medium, we wanted to take a leadership position in generating a standardised method to measure advertising metrics in video games.”
Kotick continued, “Additionally, the need for a metric to measure in-game advertising is particularly great as we are beginning to see older male gamers 18-34 defect from TV.”
“By partnering with Activision and other industry leaders, we are creating the measurement and analytical tools that will further enhance the interactive space,“ said Michael Dowling, General Manager, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment.
Dowling added, "In-game measurement of product placement is the next frontier and no company has the expertise to bring this service to market like Nielsen Entertainment."
“Nielsen Entertainment is committed to the growth and development of the video game and interactive entertainment industry as well as assisting our clients in optimising their revenue potential,” said Andy Wing, Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen Entertainment. “It is a natural extension of the services we already provide to the film, television, video, music and book industries. Nielsen Entertainment plays a pivotal role in helping our entertainment clients make better business decisions and market their products more effectively.”
Survey Reveals Video Gaming and Television Viewing Behaviours in Nielsen Homes According to the Activision/Nielsen Entertainment survey, a full three quarters of Nielsen television households with a male 8-34 own a video game system. The average male gamer plays videogames about 5 times per week, and spends at least 30 minutes doing so each time he sits down to play. In fact, nearly half spend at least an hour each time he sits down to play.
Commenting on the research, Dowling added, “Our research supports the idea of video game audience measurement. The study we conducted with Activision shows that not only are a solid proportion of gamers consciously aware of advertising in the games they play, but they also have positive perceptions of these advertisements in terms of recall, perceived realism of the games, and beneficial impact in deciding which products to buy.”
Age Seen to Impact Relationship Between Video Game Play and TV Viewership The survey also revealed that older male gamers, aged 18-34, appear to be watching less television compared to 18-34 men in general; a group that is already under-represented on television. On the other hand, gamers aged 8-17, appear to be watching as much television as 8-17 year old males in general.
While younger and older gamers play games during the week with about equal frequency (5 times per week for younger gamers; 4.5 for older), older gamers appear to be playing video games for longer periods of time, both overall and during key dayparts, further suggesting there may be some movement toward more frequent gaming at the expense of TV among this segment.
Nearly as many males 8-34 say they prefer playing video games (29%) as say they prefer watching TV (33%). This segment (8-34) also prefers playing sports (48%) and going to the movies (26%) over video games (13%)
Survey reveals advertising in video games beginning to have significant impact The survey found that more than one quarter (27%) of active male gamers noticed advertising in the last video game they played, with heavy (31%) and older (35%) gamers being the most likely to recall advertising.
According to the survey, heavy gamers are particularly enthusiastic about product integration with more than half (52%) liking games to contain real products, and a huge majority (70%) feeling that real products make a game more “genuine.”
A significant proportion (35%) of male gamers agree that advertising in video games helps them decide which products to buy, suggesting that not only are ads salient to gamers, but they positively affect gamers’ purchase decisions.
Survey Methodology Interviews for the study were conducted using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) system with nearly one thousand young men and boys between the ages of 8 and 34 from a nationally representative (RDD) sample of Nielsen TV households. Interviews were conducted February 10 – 19, 2004. Because the interviews were conducted with young males from Nielsen TV households, Activision and Nielsen Interactive Entertainment were able to compare respondents’ reported gaming behaviour to their actual TV viewing, and identify the relationship between these two potentially competing media channels.
About Nielsen Entertainment Nielsen Entertainment focuses on four broad entertainment industry verticals: film, home entertainment (video/DVD, television, videogames), music and books through the combined expertise and resources of Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), Nielsen EDI, Nielsen Entertainment Marketing Solutions (EMS), Nielsen NRG, Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen VideoScan, Nielsen BookScan, Nielsen Bookdata, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, and Nielsen ReelResearch to provide market information, creative testing, marketing solutions and analytical tools to the global entertainment industry. This includes measuring box office results; tracking radio and terrestrial music airplay; measuring music, video/DVD, and book sales; and providing specialised market research services for motion pictures and television programming.
Collectively, these businesses serve the entertainment community in 16 markets around the world. Nielsen Entertainment is part of the VNU Media Measurement & Information Group, a global leader in information services for the media and entertainment industries. For more on Nielsen Entertainment, please visit: www.nielsen.com/nielsen_entertainment.html.
About Activision, Inc. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products. Founded in 1979, Activision posted net revenues of US$864 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2003.
Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company's World Wide Web site, which is located at www.activision.com.
The statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements”. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. The Company cautions readers of this press release that a number of important factors could cause Activision's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, product delays, retail acceptance of our products, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, vendors and third-party developers, international economic and political conditions, integration of recently acquired subsidiaries and identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities.
These important factors and other factors that potentially could affect the Company’s financial results are described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company’s most recent Annual report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. Readers of this press release are referred to such filings. The Company may change its intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in the Company’s assumptions or otherwise. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. ###