Hooked Media Group announced in a release that it has launched Yoo-Me, "a premium gaming technology platform" that it hopes will create a compelling, publisher monetization solution given the influence of social media today.
Prita Uppal, CEO of Hooked Media Group, discussed the announcement with AdExchanger.com.
AdExchanger.com: What is broken with the publishing model which Hooked Media is fixing?
Uppal: Today's media consumption on publisher sites is extremely fragmented and not entirely social. This trend has led to diminished traffic, engagement rates and sellable ad inventory. Hooked's Yoo-Mee gaming application helps to reverse this trend by providing publishers access to the benefits associated with social communities. By partnering with Yoo-Mee, publishers are connected to a vast community of players. Publishers visitors, who mostly do not engage with others on the site, can now engage with each other on the site and, more importantly, can invite, compete, challenge and broadcast to and with the rest of the internet community so that people who may not visit the publishers site, now have a reason to come and join in the fun. Through Yoo-Mee, Publisher's receive incremental revenue streams from both advertising, cash tournaments, and virtual currency, but also growth in traffic and user engagement.
Skill gaming - where users play for real money - has been tried in the past with limited success. What makes you think Hooked Media's version will work? And, on a percentage basis, how much do you see the skill gaming component contributing for your revenue model?
All signs point to skill gaming growing and not decreasing. A rapidly increasing number of people are playing games with others and the "gamer" demographic is expanding to include everyone. Hooked Media is positioned to take advantage of these trends by taking existing high quality games people already play and love and adding a social experience wherein users play for virtual money or real money. Instead of playing alone, they can play those same games with others and win money thru skill competitions. In the past a partial limitation has also been accessibility and scale to enable players to win real money. Through Hooked Media, not only is the current experience vastly enhanced but players can now play those games wherever they want to play, whether on a mobile device, website or social network.
There's potential to collect a tremendous amount of data from the audience which visits these games. Can you see data being collected which may allow advertisers to buy advertising against audience segments across the web?
Over the last 3 years we've seen a dramatic shift in online targeting thanks to audience data tracking. Hooked plans to analyze a tremendous amount of data to not only benefit the player experience, but to support and provide benefit to advertisers. We're going to use player behavioral attributes to help validate marketing initiatives and develop a deep understanding of the audience as it applies to their gaming profiles.
What will prevent others from hopping into your space such as a Zynga? Is $4.5 million in funding enough?
Lets start with Zynga and their competitors. The key to hopping into the space is distribution. Hooked Media Group has an existing and growing network of vertically focused partner websites. Hooked Media works with each partner to engage their visitors in two ways : provide visitors with game content related to their sites from casual and social developers and leverage their existing user base by providing a way for them to interact with each other. In fact, Zynga is a potential partner - as a content provider, Zynga would partner with Hooked Media Group to be a distribution mechanism to push their games to more players or to retain their existing players by giving placing their games in more locations.
By being both a monetization platform, Hooked Media is generating significant revenue already and has established support from advertisers. As such, our business model is supported from an existing revenue model and funding is not required. We both have very strong support from both US Venture Partners and Altos Ventures.
By John Ebbert
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