Facebook Speeds Up Game App Launch; EMarketer Updates TV Forecast

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Game On

Facebook launched its new gaming app Monday, speeding up the planned June release. The app will compete with Microsoft’s Mixer, Amazon’s Twitch and Google’s YouTube. Facebook Gaming, as it’s called, gets a cut from viewer-to-player transactions, but will eventually also include advertising. Facebook is focusing on mobile, whereas Twitch, the 400-pound gorilla in game streaming, is mostly desktop. “We don’t want to be the background window in a Chrome tab while someone is doing their homework or doing something else,” Facebook gaming VP Vivek Sharma told The New York Times. “With mobile, if you have the app open and you’re using the app, it’s in the foreground. You can’t do anything else on your mobile phone, and that is extremely powerful.”

No See TV

The postponement or suspension of major sporting events is the biggest reason why eMarketer has revised down its United States TV ad spend forecast, anticipating an H1 2020 decline of between 22.3% and 29.3%. That’s $10 billion to $12 billion less than anticipated in early March, when it predicted a 2% increase for the full year. Political ad spend will also be soft in Q2, according to eMarketer principal analyst Nicole Perrin, though election-year TV advertising over-indexes to the months right before the election. Though with Joe Biden clearing the field as the likely Democratic nominee, election ad spend has dwindled. “There’s not a significant reason to spend political ad budgets now, and campaigns likely fear it will seem insensitive if they do,” Perrin said.

Pivot To Video

The digital publisher Group Nine Media, which operates NowThis, The Dodo, Thrillist, PopSugar and Seeker, is partnering with Facebook to develop 10 new shows for Facebook Watch, Deadline reports. Many will greet this news with, “Here we go again.” Facebook spent millions to subsidize shows for Watch, but its commitment never lasted and publishers ended up downsizing video teams. The deal makes sense for Facebook Watch, which finally has some traction while everyone is stuck at home. The Facebook Watch strategy entails pairing popular creators (Facebook and Instagram influencers) with digital publishers. “As the global industry leader in multiplatform, mobile-first content creation, we’re excited to partner with Facebook on new franchises featuring some of our fans’ favorite creators,” said Group Nine president of network Mickey Meyer.

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