With Battlestar and Ridley Scott Machinima shows importance of gamers to brands

Battlestar Galactica Blood & Chrome debuted on the Machinima networkThe moment that Philip DeBevoise announced on stage at The Guardian Changing Media Summit in London that the Machinima network was now “larger than most television networks”, it was great news to hear gaming audiences being recognised as valid and valuable audience members.

The Machinima network undoubtedly has geek-gamer origins – tech-heads and gamers connected through the network to swap gameplay strategies, Machinima animations and general gaming comment. Its global audience was enormous, but for many years occupied a space below the radar of the advertising industry. Yes there were the occasional opportunistic tie-ins and product placement with brands like Domino’s pizza, but this massive global community was largely dismissed as too niche.

The recent news that Ridley Scott is to produce 12 episodes of original Machinima content is a reminder to the media and advertising industry that gamers are real people too, with real dollars to spend, and real desires that brands can fulfill.

Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise said that partnering with Ridley Scott highlighted a “unique incubation model” for content that could give rise to new Sci-Fi franchises.

This isn’t the first such deal that Machinima has signed. Towards the end of last year Universal announced that it would launch Battlestar Galactica spinoff, ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ first on Machinima. This was a hit TV show that in its latest iteration was debuting on a YouTube channel.

And not just any channel. Machinima had viewing figures in excess of 1.9 billion last month and it expands on its original programme that saw projects like ‘Halo 4′s Forward Unto Dawn’ pick up more than 3.2 million views.

Both the Ridley Scott and the Battlestar Galactica deal highlight the importance of gamers. Everyone has an inner gamer, although this might manifest itself in several ways.

Some of us like to game discretely on our tablets, others like to have games running in the background at work (with a conveniently busy looking spreadsheet to drag over the top when your boss wanders past), and others like to compete in social games with their friends and strive for the best scores.

The Machinima numbers are very impressive, with something like 250 million viewers and 2.5 billion content streams per month.

That’s an astonishing number of people interested in games and gaming content.  These kind of numbers can’t be ignored any more. Gaming is mainstream, and we’re ready to help brands and their agencies make the most of these audiences.

Scott Johnston is head of global PR, Spil Games.