The MI6 conference on video game marketing being held this week in San Francisco will include a handful of representatives from the TV industry to discuss the interplay between the TV and gaming businesses. That includes the Voom channel Gameplay HD, which launched last year. It’s a high-definition video game network that covers gaming tournaments from around the world and provides tips, tricks, news, reviews and previews. Mark DeAngelis, VP of programming at Gameplay HD, is slated to speak at MI6. TelevisionWeek Contributing Writer Daisy Whitney spoke to him about how the two businesses can learn from each other.
TelevisionWeek: Your network is in HD. What’s the connection between gaming and HD and why is it important to deliver your content in HD?
Mark DeAngelis: Without question, HD is the future for any programming — and any programming will benefit from high-definition filming and broadcasting. But for video games in particular, it allows us to create compelling programming that not only looks great, but digs into the other aspects of games, such as storytelling. For instance, our original series “CinemAddicts,” which airs all the cut scenes from a game so viewers can experience the story at the heart of the game, would not be as strong or immersive in standard definition. PC players have been very familiar with high-resolution games for a while, and it was clear to us that once the next-generation consoles were going to hit the market, HD would become an increasing priority for gamers. With the introduction of the HD gaming consoles, the huge increase in HD television sales, the time is right to deliver the gaming audience the kind of programming they’ve been waiting for, in high definition.
TVWeek: What are the biggest challenges facing an HD network when it comes to marketing? How does this, if at all, mirror the challenges in marketing in the gaming industry?
Mr. DeAngelis: Both gaming and Gameplay HD rely on a very visual experience. Marketing an HD network definitely falls into the “seeing is believing” category. Once viewers experience what HD programming looks like, they are hooked — so the real hurdle is giving audiences that frame of reference. We share another challenge with gaming marketers, and that’s competition. These entertainment spaces are changing incredibly quickly, and the way we all experience TV and videogames will continue to change, as new distribution channels open up for both fields.
TVWeek: What do TV marketers have to learn from game marketers and vice versa?
Mr. DeAngelis: The amount of change and innovation happening in both of these spaces means we all need to learn from each other, and continue to be ready to adapt and change with the times. The integrated marketing campaigns that companies like EA are implementing are opening doors for everyone. The one thing that we all need to keep in mind is that quality is key; our audiences are hungry for information, and hungry for our products, but demand a great experience.
TVWeek: Are TV and gaming colleagues or competitors?
Mr. DeAngelis: Both. There will always be competition in any entertainment space for attracting consumers. But the good news is that, more and more, TV and gaming marketers are working together. We are thrilled at the reception we’ve gotten from the top game publishers in the industry. Ubisoft, EA, Microsoft, all have worked with us to create programming that promotes their titles but also gives viewers a look into their world, which is compelling TV for the gaming crowd. It goes without saying that any exciting new property — TV, movie, book — will have a video game component for its fans, so we’re all working together in concert more and more to deliver entertainment to our audiences.