The only thing constant in this world is change itself.
In an interview with Prashanth Supramaniam, Managing Director of Mandaring Reid (Pvt) Ltd – a fully integrated content agency that develops brand content across traditional, digital and ground activations, we delved into valuable insight on how a brands media mix should evolve to accommodate new touchpoints of the future.
Prashanth who is more famously known as an instigator of the rise of Media only agencies in the island that paved the way to greater specialization of media sciences, knowledge capture and greater effectiveness in media has nowbeen an early mover amongst agencies into the gaming sphere with the launch of Mandarin Reid eSports - the newest subsidiary of the group.
Mandarin Reid eSports has already been involved in Red Bull Gaming tournaments and sphere headed Sri Lanka’s entry to console based GT simulation championships.
It is not all games with gaming pointed out Prashanth. Globally e-Gaming is considered a 2.4 Billion USD industry. Estimates do vary, but for all intensive purposes everyone agrees it is what we refers to as - Future media. Sri Lanka is estimated to have an approximate 3.2 million gamers. But these numbers are deceptive.
There is a vast majority of Children, particularly from urban to semi urban Sri Lanka under the age of 10 who play different forms of online gaming that goes unnoticed and unaccounted for. From Jaffna to Dondra the e Gaming community connects with a new passion and pastime that is breaking ethnic divide, language and even borders. It is one Tribe, One generation.
Mandarin Reid research into time utilization of various audience throughout the day brought some very interesting statistics on gaming habits. The average gamer would spend close to 3 to 5 hours of their day gaming in some format or the other. Some of this would be late night – pushing the threshold of media touchpoint time utilization, but equally a high percentage played through what is known as traditional media contact time. More importantly it is the alternative for time on FB and social media in general. The two platforms may compete for time utilization as Gamers spend considerable time on alternate platforms. Yet they integrate again via platforms such as FB and YouTube to generate even wider reach, passion and momentum as theydefine a new generation of heroes and skills.
As more and more audience engage with Gaming as a pastime even the largest entertainment brands would be forced to consider a shift. Marvel comics who once built childhood heroes and icons through comics, today is forced to continue its brand connect via Gaming to remain relevant. Star Wars that defined a generation at the Theater is now online in a Gaming format as the Force was with them and force it did them to adapt to digital formats of Gaming to keep the love affair for inter-Galactic wars alive. Most recently Sony signed a deal with Roblox to keep their music labels relevant amidst a migrating consumer. Why? Because beyond an opportunity, the audience was migrating to a new platform and Sony realized they had to.
Brands in Sri Lanka believe the migrating consumer logic is simply one of a shift from traditional media to Social media. Gaming is often seen as a Fad. But if the next generation belongs to an era of gamers, if they spend the best part of theirday on Gaming platforms, if their numbers are sizeable and interaction with traditional media is muted, what choice is left for a brand that wants to connect with these audiences. This is the breeding ground for heroes of the next generation. The Sangakkara’s of our time who brought national pride will tomorrow rise from these e-Gaming breeding grounds as fame and fortune rise within e-Gaming as a sport. Sri Lanka’s Government has been early to recognize this change and we are one of the first as a Nation to be out of the blocks in this regionin recognizing the sportsmanship in Gaming. But we can be so much more.
Brands will grapple with how e-Gaming is relevant to them and how they make it a platform to engage and connect with thecommunity. One must take care as soft topline engagement or frivolous engagement will have little or no impact. Mandarin Reid eSports is a specialist unit that is run by brand building experts and Gamers to build powerful brand opportunities. The tools and models are many. No one approach is suitable to all. Brands must widen their media mix to compliment the ever-changing media landscape of consumers. Avoiding e-Gaming is seeing the inevitable and refusing to accept it. Given the time utilization, size of the gaming market and detraction from traditional media, brands in the future may have little choice said Prashanth.