Through consumer research and market intelligence, marketers across the board can learn from the failures and successes of the gaming industry’s collaboration with Hollywood. And we’ll see data-driven decisions taking center stage soon enough. In fact, it’s already being used for brand health and competitor tracking as we see major players in the entertainment industry make aggressive moves to capture market share.
As we can see below, there are a number of opportunities to investigate. Anime gaming is huge, and participants are searching for experiences that transcend digital engagements.
The Gaming Industry Offers Endless Potential
Rumor has it that a bunch of video games will be turned into TV shows in 2023. To name a few, God of War (Amazon Prime), Horizon Zero Dawn (Netflix), Resident Evil series (Netflix), and Twisted Metal (Peacock). The list is long.
Following the success of shows and films adapted from video games, it seems the video game “developer’s chair” is going to appear more on the set. With recent smashing successes like The Last of Us and The Witcher, more are looking to bring video game storylines to television.
And it’s not just shows. Films such as Warcraft, Detective Pikachu, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have done very well in the past and continue to inspire the adaptation of video games into movies. At the same time, most of the adaptations have had mixed-to-negative reviews, reminding others of the immense challenge ahead.
Often, critics cite poor casting choices, lack of originality, and disloyalty to the source material as the main issues. Between 2019 and 2022, only four out of a multitude of video game films had a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, i.e., 60 percent and above. (The Last of Us has a 90 percent freshness.)
Consumer research and market intelligence can reveal gaming industry intel useful for future releases. More importantly, it is a great illustration for marketers across all industries of the crucial role of brand health monitoring and competitor tracking in appealing to a new market (from gaming audience to viewers) and repackaging a product (video game to show or film). Understanding who these viewer are is step one.
The Changing Face of the Gaming Audience
The video game market is huge—bigger than the movie and music industries combined. According to Grand View Research, the industry stood at over $151 billion in 2019. As of 2021, it was approximately $176 billion, and it is expected to keep up a 12.9 percent annual growth rate from 2020 to 2027.
This growth is being sustained by an audience that is quite different from the stereotypical TV character. If you happen to be a gamer, you might bear witness that the “gamer demographic” has changed a lot, especially after 2019.
Advances in mobile technology have made gaming more accessible and convenient. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, gaming became one of the best pastimes. Today, roughly 3 billion people play video games, and around 300 million more will be regular gamers by 2024. This population comprises people of both genders, across all age groups, and with varying interests.
It is estimated that people between 18 and 34 (who you’d probably expect to be the sole/main gamer audience) make up only 38 percent of gamers worldwide. The rest are their younger siblings, their parents, and even grandparents. Interestingly, 45 percent of gamers are female.
In the U.S., 74 percent of households consist of at least one family member who plays video games. This tallies up to 227 million people in the country who play video games for at least one hour every week. Based on the amount of play and passion, gamers can be casual, mid-core, or hardcore.
There is much research done to show the proliferation of the gaming industry. Generally, many of the industry stereotypes have been abandoned. The gaming audience is changing, and developers have to keep that in mind as they create new games and try to leap into TV.
Keep in mind that the gaming audience has become a spectator sport. The gaming audience now includes gamers and fans. Speaking about Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch, Jeff Bezos explained how the company had created a platform for “tens of millions of people” to watch gameplay.
There are 3.2 billion players worldwide distributed across all generations. Source
It’s not just that the gaming audience is changing. It’s an overall shift in consumer attitudes, behaviors, expectations, preferences, perceptions, interactions, and standards.
The same consumer that has recently reconnected with their childhood obsession (gaming) is the same one that wants food delivered to the door, the same one reading reviews online, and still the same canceling TV shows because they lack loyalty to the source material.
This one aspect/change in their lives has gone on to profoundly influence other areas. And these influences reinforce each other. Network maps help make these connections more clearly than words can.
For instance, during the previous World Cup, gaming was one of the main topics discussed alongside Sports, and closely connected to television and movies, as seen below:
A network map reveals connections in audience discussions.
Using such insights, brands like KFC, Hyundai, and Puma appealed to their audiences by tapping into other aspects of their lives that aren’t directly connected to the brand’s offerings.
Consumer research and market intelligence help you discover changes in your target market as they happen. More than that, since you can connect the dots through a powerful business intelligence system, it is easier to develop creative ways to reach and appeal to the audience.
How Video Games Make the Leap into TV
After securing their primary market, brands want to know how to expand. And repackaging a product could be a viable option. As video games have become an increasingly popular medium over the recent years – most impressively, as a social platform – it’s been easier to repackage the content (i.e., story) into other formats, not least because of the accessibility of consumer research and market intelligence.
By collecting and analyzing different kinds of data, developers can tell which games will do well as films or TV shows. As explained by Wired, because a video game is more interactive than a movie, the leap presents unique challenges, which is why many have failed, making The Last of Us one of the exceptions.
Neil Druckmann, co-creator of the game and show, is quoted explaining how people react differently to the story depending on whether they are playing characters or simply watching them. It is more difficult to get the latter audience to engage with the story.
While playing The Last of Us video game sounds a lot more fun than watching the show, it could get very expensive for new players. Because it is currently only available on PlayStation, you’d need at least $300 for a new console and $20 for the game. Thus, adapting it into a TV show has not only expanded the market for the developer but also made the story available to a broader audience.
Viewers can appreciate the artistry, and as a bonus, they can consume the story in less time than it takes to unfold in the game. That said, adaptations are not only meant for non-players. Arguably, players that have already fallen in love with the game enjoy the show the most. And the story has been doubly gamified, with Easter eggs hidden in the show for the game lovers to find.
Repackaging a product must have some risk, especially if it is already performing well. Turning a game into a film or TV show is particularly risky – the audience can be quite vocal. Across all industries, negative customer experience is the greatest risk when repackaging.
It can mean any change in the product, from rebranding to changing its wrapping and adding new components. Using consumer research and market intelligence, brands can determine the level of urgency of associated risks and anticipate customer reactions. They can map these risks by type and then track key sentiment accompanying key indicators over time, as seen in the “Business Risk” Crosstab example below:
Changing your product in any way is risky but sometimes necessary.
This reveals threats as well as opportunities.
For instance, analyzing the conversation following the legalization of recreational marijuana in several states reveals opportunities for beverage manufacturers.
The different ways people are consuming cannabis.
From the bar chat, tea, coffee, juice, and other beverage manufacturers have an opportunity to repackage their products to cater to an emerging market. Going deeper, analysts can find out where the shift is happening, the age groups driving the change, and how much the market is willing to pay.
Conducting such an analysis not only reveals hidden opportunities but could also protect you from some of the risks of repackaging your product.
Brand Health Analysis
Companies go to great lengths to establish a strong brand, and they should. However, this shouldn’t be mistaken for control over consumer perception of the brand. The marketing messaging and the customer experience from interaction at different touchpoints are what the brand puts out there about itself. But what consumers believe about the company may be different, and this perception is under the control of the consumer. Assumptions about what that perception is are dangerous.
Brand perception has a significant influence on the success of a business, from how comfortable consumers are interacting with it to the bottom line. Thus, it is important to monitor consumer perceptions continuously using consumer research and market intelligence technology. This is known as brand health analysis.
Brand health analysis lets you see your brand through the eyes of the consumer. Advanced consumer research technology pulls data from various customer feedback channels to tell you what is being said and shared about your brand and how it affects you in real-time.
You can access the conversations and contexts that shape your target consumer’s opinion. You also get to join those conversations while they are still fresh so you can clear things up. Further, you can watch the conversation progress over time and measure sentiment to see if things are improving.
And you can also perform brand health analysis in the context of your competitors.
Brand Health Analysis to Inform Game Adaptations
When deciding whether to adapt video games into TV shows and films, for instance, brand health analysis can help monitor the perception of the game relative to close competitors.
If you’re analyzing competitors using social media data, it’s better to use a platform like Rival IQ that will give you unrestricted access to public data on all the major social networks. Rival IQ helps you gauge your competitive strategy against the activities of your competitors by analyzing social posts, engagement, and other audience metrics.
Competitor analysis by audience engagement.
Brand health analysis also helps you identify the key factors affecting brand passion. Brand passion influences customer buying decisions, as most are based on emotion. The more positive the brand passion, the less the customer relies on price, which may often go against you if you offer premium products.
You can use brand health analysis to learn about the most exciting aspects of your products and services and use the insights to boost loyalty. Knowing what customers love about your brand amplifies your strength, and being aware of the negative aspects is helpful too.
Brand health analysis gathers data about your brand coverage in the media so you know the kinds of messages being pushed out as the credibility of mainstream media could work for or against you. For instance, research shows that brands portrayed as strong in the media enjoy higher margins.
Finally, brand health analysis helps you measure operational KPIs. Successful brands constantly measure their efforts to discover areas of improvement. Market intelligence technology allows you to track KPIs and measure changes over time.
For accurate results, data from all sources in the analysis should be integrated through a powerful business intelligence solution. NetBase Quid’s Intelligence Connector brings together data from disparate sources and analyzes it to get a holistic view of the brand’s health.
Connecting Disparate Data Sources and Seeing Sentiment
As an illustration, here is how the Intelligence Connector was used to measure different success factors for the airline industry. The analysis is done to know the potential sustainability risks associated with different airlines.
Based on consumer sentiment and brand passion, different airlines are compared across the same themes, so the marketing team, looking at the table, would be able to determine where they are most vulnerable, combining consumer feedback and the ranking among other companies.
Brand health analysis on the Intelligence Connector. Visit the site to see the full table.
Companies remain competitive by excelling at what they do. For instance, Naughty Dog, the developer behind the video game The Last of Us, is a consistent winner in the industry with several ambitious and successful projects preceding The Last of Us.
To compete effectively in the market, in addition to excelling at your craft, competitor tracking is a must. Competitive intelligence primarily reveals your brand position in the market based on value metrics such as revenue, consumer sentiment and passion, and industry averages.
With social and media analytics, you have an expansive, real-time view of your competitors. You can understand consumer perceptions towards them by looking at the conversations, discussions in the media, and their marketing messaging.
This is why you need to know if your competitors post on social media, if the mainstream media shares news about them on social networks, or if your audience discusses them on these channels.
Real-time Alerts and Understanding are Essential
Specifically, you want real-time alerts on changes in the marketing campaign, events, product launches, and any communications from partners. For example, the focus below shows the cross-channel audience growth over time among competing hotel brands:
Cross-channel audience and % change.
Competitive intelligence is also important for understanding the share of voice. Through AI-based social listening, consumer research technology can gather, filter, and analyze consumer conversation data to reveal brand dominance over a topic or the general conversation in the market.
Applying Competitive Intel to TV Show Adaptations
This will be useful for game developers looking to adapt to movies. Through consumer research and market intelligence, they can discover the best-performing games based on strong metrics such as engagement and consumer passion rather than vanity metrics like follower count on social media. This should help them decide the game contenders for the next hit TV show or film.
With market intelligence technology, you can understand how your competitors respond to emerging trends. This requires analyzing data from many sources to accurately gauge trends and determine whether they are emerging, steady, or just fads and market noise. The Intelligence Connector makes it easy to combine trends data from various sources.
In the following illustration, the analysis aimed to understand what consumers valued in different beverages by analyzing emerging trends along themes such as drink ingredients and health benefits.
The heat map shows the fluctuation in consumer preferences over time. Marketing teams can use such breakdowns to align their strategies to what customers value the most at any particular time, leading to more sales and less waste of resources.
Competitive trend analysis on the Intelligence Connector. Visit the site to see the full table.
Sifting through consumer and market data to uncover insights hiding in plain sight is a brand superpower. Connect data gathered from various sources and analyze it using custom KPIs that are relevant to your organization, shared in visuals that are easy to decipher and have interactive capabilities linked to a continuous stream of information. It’s possible—and we know a place!
The Intelligence Connector is an easy, efficient, scalable, cost-effective, time-saving, and customizable business intelligence solution allowing you to get the right answers to your questions about brand health analysis and competitor tracking. To learn more request a demo and we will find the best way to configure the tool and get you started.