Melbourne’s The Royals have moved to diversify their revenue stream with a second-screen sports game app they plan to launch internationally this year.
The Battle Stars app first launched during the 2013 AFL finals and the agency now has plans to launch it during the 2014 World Cup and the English Premier League.
The app is a live multi-player mobile game that adds another level of interaction with the real-life sports match the player is watching by feeding live stats into the gaming engine.
It took 12 months to bring the idea to life and the app, which The Royals plan to spruik at this year’s South by Southwest, was designed and developed completely in-house.
Battle Stars has not only diversified the independent creative and technology hub’s revenue stream, but it has also provided a better appreciation of the decisions facing marketers beyond advertising.
“We are often caught up in our own little advertising microcosm and fail to understand the relative small part we typically play in the product development process,” Andrew Siwka, director at The Royals, said.
“When you are spending your own money on marketing a product, it realigns your perspective on spending other peoples’ money on marketing theirs.
“It gives perspective back to the numbers that we are responsible for when making recommendations to clients.”
Siwka also believes Battle Stars has provided The Royals a better understanding of what consumers will, and will not, engage with and pay for in the app space.
“It feels like ‘creating an app’ is the new ‘I want a viral video’ request from many marketers, so being armed with more firsthand experience in the category again helps us to provide stronger strategic recommendations to clients.”
The app started its life with a sponsorship and advertising model but the agency quickly realised the revenue opportunities lay in a ‘user pays model’.
The Royals are currently looking to build virtual currency into the game’s next iteration and are testing other user pays models. The app is free to download.
Moving to a ‘user pay model’ also allowed The Royals to “concentrate on making the game as good as it could be from a consumer perspective (no client product integration required)”.
Siwka believes Battle Stars will help The Royals stand out in ad agency land, which he described as “pretty narrow” and “siloed”, as it proves the hub’s commitment to “experimentation, innovation and building IP of our own”.
“Selfishly it serves to create revenue opportunities outside of the traditional agency service model but just as importantly it improves our understanding of the broader considerations clients have to deal with when marketing their products.”