This biggest winner during March Madness might be Nintendo.
After a gangbusters February for industry spending, gaming brands took it down a notch during March — although many took advantage of sports programming like the NCAA Tournament and the NBA to reach an engaged, male-skewing audience. In total, 33 brands spent an estimated $59.3 million running 92 spots over 21,800 times, generating 2.4 billion TV ad impressions.
GamesBeat has partnered with iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention analytics from 10 million smart TV screens, to bring you a monthly report on how gaming brands are spending. The results below are for the top five spending gaming industry brands in March 2017.
Nintendo leads the pack with just over 30 percent of the spend for the gaming industry (an estimated $18.3 million), and it’s the only brand in our top five ranking that ran commercials during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The company aired 16 spots over 4,100 times and generated 583.5 million TV ad impressions. The commercial with the most spend (which was also its top spender last month) was “Believer,” featuring music by Imagine Dragons. Nintendo spent the most on ads that aired on Nick, Adult Swim, and Comedy Central, as well as during the NCAA tournament, episodes of South Park, and Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards.
PlayStation takes second place with an estimated spend of $10.2 million for 10 ads that aired over 1,900 times and received 297.2 million TV ad impressions. It spent the most on “Horizon Zero Dawn: This Balance Cannot Last.” PlayStation prioritized network-specific spend on Fox, ESPN, and Comedy Central, and programming-specific spend for NBA, college basketball, and South Park.
Even though Ubisoft only aired two ads in March, it comes in at No. 3 for total spend in the industry, with an estimated $8 million. The two ads, which ran over 1,300 times and amassed nearly 308.9 million TV ad impressions, were both for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, with “You Decide” having the bulk of the budget (almost an estimated $7.9 million). Ubisoft spent the most on Comedy Central, ESPN, and AMC networks, as well as having big budgets for NBA, The Walking Dead, and Tosh.0.
Top Games, Inc spent an estimated $4.4 million on five ads that aired over 3,400 times and generated 197.4 million impressions. It spent the most on the “Evony: The King’s Return: The Original Empire” ad, an estimated $1.3 million. Top Games, Inc seemed to be targeting a sports-loving audience, with spend concentrated toward Fox, Fox Sports 1, and NBA TV, as well as broadcasts of college basketball, Fox College Hoops Extra, and NBA GameTime.
Machine Zone rounds out our chart, with an estimated spend of $3.4 million on two ads that aired over 4,300 times and received 210.9 million impressions. The bulk of its budget was set aside for airings of “Mobile Strike: Date Night.” Machine Zone prioritized network-specific spend toward NFL Network, CBS Sports, and Fox News, and show-specific budget for Path to the Draft, World of X Games, and Up to the Minute.
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