Twitch’s Ricky Chanana On Why Now’s The Time To Get Serious About Gaming Ads

Twitch’s Ricky Chanana On Why Now’s The Time To Get Serious About Gaming Ads

We caught up with Twitch’s head of sales for ANZ, Ricky Chanana, who told us all about how the company is fairing with growing competition from other platforms, its plans moving forward and their latest collaboration with DoorDash.

Entertainment platform Twitch has a huge audience that come in different shapes and sizes. But none is more vocal and active than its gaming audience, representing a booming industry that’s expanding by the minute and providing investors with exciting new opportunities.

The company’s head of sales, Ricky Chanana (pictured above), would be one of the people who have the greater insight on that topic, as his position allows him to see how viewers are interacting with game ads, a relatively new concept which is still being explored.

Speaking to B&T, Ricky provides some perspective on what that market looks like here in Australia, an area which admittedly is not as evolved as some other regions of the world when it comes to game development.

“You know, two thirds of Australians play video games, and that is a 17 million households. That is almost 78 percent of the total demographic, it’s a big number. If you think about it, we are punching way above our weight (compared) to other countries. In 2021, video games connected nine out of 10 Aussies, which is 8.6 million households,” says Ricky.

But, what does that translate to, financially? “In terms of revenue, in totality, I think in 2021, the industry reached about $226.5 million in Australia. That’s a big number! Globally, that amount at the moment is at around $221 billion. And that will move to $294 billion by 2024. So we’re talking big game, big numbers here!”

What is a “gamer”?

However, there are certain preset ideas regarding the industry that still seem to be holding back any potential investors from what could be a great opportunity for them. Certain stereotypes that have been deeply intertwined with the identity of a “gamer”, which most likely falls far from a brand’s target audience.

The Twitch head of sales for ANZ weighs in on these pre-dated concepts: “Gamers are all human beings. They go grocery shopping, they have cars, they watch TV, they have bank accounts… A gamer is not a person stuck in someone’s dungeon, playing games and doing nothing else. There’s a misconception about gamers having a completely different profile compared to ordinary human beings.

Twitch’s head of sales for Australia and New Zealand, Ricky Chanana.

“So, if the highest percentage of their attention economy is on gaming, compared to any other (forms of) media, then we need to communicate with them where they go, consumption-wise. Which is why advertisers need to start thinking about gaming as part of the media mix, like they do for broadcasting TV, like to do for outdoor, like they do for any other channel. Gaming should be a part of the media mix modelling.”

More players emerging in the game-streaming market

The game-streaming environment is becoming increasingly competitive. Where once upon a time Twitch held almost a monopoly of the entire market, nowadays there’s more and more players jumping in, such as YouTube or even TikTok, creating their own platforms and trying to take their share of the pie. How does the streaming giant deal with this fierce competition?

“I think it’s great to have other services, like YouTube and TikTok, invest and play big in gaming, because it actually works out! The more awareness we get, the better. You think about sports, for example. Sports is one of the biggest products for everyone, because you’ve got multiple broadcasters, multiple publishers, and multiple organisations investing in talent and content. And that’s why live sports is possibly one of the biggest things out there. So I think, having other competitors out there, who are doing a lot of work in this space of gaming is probably the best thing for the entire industry. Additionally, while it’s great to have these other players, we see ourselves as a different service from what they can provide”, says Chanana.

DoorDash collab goes full-on Street Fighter!

Recently Twitch held a collaboration campaign with Wavemaker and game streamer /PlayItShady for DoorDash (you can watch a short video below). The campaign emulated an 8-bit video game which was quite similar to retro title Street Fighter (for those who still remember!), with the add featuring a DoorDasher named Jake or a pixel version of /PlayItShady herself making a number of deliveries.

/PlayItShady streamed the commercial via her own channel, with lucky viewers getting treated to $10 Ben & Jerry’s coupons for their orders from Pizza Hut. The campaign went on to exceed even the most optimistic of expectations, having over 19,000 total views and being watched for a total of over 85,600 minutes.

Ricky gave us a bit of insight on what the thought process behind that campaign was: “The delivery market is highly competitive, and it’s becoming even more competitive for all the players. DoorDash is relatively new locally, and awareness about their brand was a little bit low. So for them, the biggest challenge was to pass the message that they are offering delivery services outside of food, they can do groceries, Reject Shop, Chemists Warehouse, all of that. They wanted to continue having the familiar presence of DoorDash from a food perspective, but also pivot into other areas.

“So, they approached to us and and we were like ‘okay, so how can we make DoorDash feel like every person is player one?’ Because that’s exactly the point. So we set out to highlight how to make gamers and our Twitch community feel like player one every time. Because trust me, in my younger days of intensity when I was a player, I always wanted to be player one! And anyone who’s a gamer would know how critical that is. So we set out to demonstrate how DoorDash are also player one in their own right.”

Arts & crafts on Twitch? Why not!

In regards to what the future holds for the streaming platform, the Twitch head of sales for ANZ stresses that while gaming will always be a priority for them, we might be seeing more space open up for other ways streamers can interact with their audiences.

“We feel we’ve done a great job in gaming and that’s our DNA. Gamers will always be coming in because that’s where they’ll find the content they know and appreciate, whether that’s Call of Duty, or Fortnite or GTAV. But they are now starting to find these other micro-communities focused around music, arts and crafts. For example, there’s this person who does Rolex watch restorations and it’s one of my favourite channels. If you have a passion point, you’re more than likely to find it on Twitch.

“So for us, it’s about how we pivot into content, which is not gaming-related. So we’ll have live content for all the music, arts and crafts. We consider this as a big, big priority for us and you will continue seeing that from us. Because we view ourselves as a live entertainment service and a gaming platform, and all those are part of makes Twitch what it is.”

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