As gifting season heats up, consoles have returned to TV in force. Although PlayStation is still far and away the biggest advertiser, both Nintendo and Xbox (who didn’t even make the leaderboard last month) are increasing their spends significantly to land on as many wish lists as possible.
GamesBeat has partnered with iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than eight million smart TVs, to bring you a monthly report on how gaming brands are spending. The results below are for the top five gaming industry brands in November, ranked by estimated national TV ad spend.
Gaming brands nearly doubled their budgets from the previous month, spending an estimated $102.3 million running 94 ads 22,420 times on national TV. In total, these airings generated 5.4 billion TV ad impressions, and potentially many placements on wish lists across the country.
PlayStation remained dominant throughout the start of the holiday season, spending an estimated $43.1 million running 10 ads on TV over 4,100 times. This spend generated nearly 1.7 billion ad impressions for the brand, with the biggest budget allotment dedicated to “Journey Ahead” ($11.8 million). The brand focused this spend on Fox, NBC, and ESPN, reaching viewers of NFL, college football, and viewer favorite The Walking Dead.
Nintendo is once again in second place, chalking up nearly $20.4 million on 19 spots which ran over 7,500 times, resulting in almost 1.2 billion TV ad impressions. The largest share of the spend ($5.8 million), was on the latest edition to the Pokemon franchise, new Nintendo Switch games “Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! And Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” The brand took a holistic approach with these ads, prioritizing networks like Adult Swim, Nick, and Comedy Central, while airing during shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants, South Park, and The Loud House.
Although missing entirely from last month’s list, Xbox has ramped up heavily as we roll into the holiday season. Spending over $17.1 million on five ads that ran nearly 4,000 times, Xbox generated 923.4 million TV ad impressions on the backs of networks like ESPN, Fox, and AMC. The console’s top ad ($8.3 million), “Official Launch Trailer,” celebrated the release of the latest addition to the Battlefield universe, Battlefield V. The brand prioritized down-the-middle programming like the NFL, college football, and The Walking Dead to maximize this spend.
New to the leaderboards is Oculus VR, the Facebook-owned VR platform that recently introduced a low-cost introductory model to market in an effort to make virtual reality more accessible for mainstream audiences. The brand spent over $9.4 million during November to place nine spots nearly 530 times on TV, including over $4 million dedicated to its top ad, “See it in VR,” which featured Wiz Khalifa, Leslie Jones, and Awkwafina. Oculus spread this spend primarily across Fox, ABC, and NBC, and during programming including the NFL, The Walking Dead, and The Voice.
EA Sports closes out the ranking, rejoining the top ranks after a slowed spend since the end of September. With an estimated budget of over $2.2 million this month, it accounts for nearly 2.5 percent of the category’s entire TV ad spend during this period. Running only two ads over 220 times, EA generated over 110 million TV ad impressions, with the vast majority of spend focused on its top ad “Make Your Play Part 2,” promoting the latest Madden NFL release. EA allocated budget on an appropriately sports-loving audience, placing these ads primarily on ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network, and during programming such as the NFL, college football, and college basketball.
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