Josh Walker 

Hi everybody, welcome back to the stage here at CES. We have a treat for you right now. You've been at this event for the last two days, you know that we are covering traditional sports. And today's theme is all about eSports and gaming. This is a particularly challenging area for the industry as eSports continues to evolve. One of the bigger challenges is how brands engage with eSports and gaming. And one of the words that you hear from the industry all the time is authenticity. How do we maintain an authentic relationship with fans and consumers as we try to get ourselves immersed in this new type of format? So this panel is going to talk about that, but I recommend you guys stay in your seats because right after this, we're going to flip it. We're going to talk about how gamers really engage with eSports brands. So I want to bring on stage Dean Takahashi, who has been a tech journalist for more than 30 years and is covered this space for decades. He's been at Venture Beat since 2008. And he's really a perfect person to have this conversation. He's the lead writer at games beat and VentureBeat and Dean's gonna lead our conversation with an incredible panel. You have some very prominent eSports and gaming brands on this stage, everybody from Activision Blizzard to Samsung, to Dell to Twitch and enjoy the panel. Thanks, Dean.

 
Dean Takahashi 

Thank you for coming to our session. I have been writing about games itself, I guess, 2023 years or so. Been at VentureBeat about 11 of those years writing game stories as well. And I run the game speed conference this year. We're going to have it April 28 and 29th in Los Angeles, and we're going to have my panelists introduce themselves starting with Josh right.

 
Josh Cella 

Hi everybody. My name is Josh Cella. I oversee the partnership business for Activision Blizzard eSports. there with the company now For four years and have seen it pre Overwatch league launch and and, and where we are today go into the season three of Overwatch league and launching Call of Duty league in two weeks. Grace.

 
Grace Dolan 

Hi, my name is Grace stolen. I'm the Vice President of integrated marketing for the home entertainment division of Samsung. That's mouthful. I've been at Samsung for about three years and and during that time, you know, really was when we started to look and invest and learn more about this gaming community in the gaming audience. So super excited to be here to talk with you guys about it.

 
Sarah Looss 

I'm Sarah Looss. And I lead the amazing sales team at twitch for North America. I joined about seven months ago and I'm so happy to be here to tell everybody about the incredible twitch community

 
Bryan de Zayas 

and a Bryan de Zayas I manage Alienware and Dell from a global marketing perspective for Dell. actually been in the gaming space with Alienware since 2003. So going on a lot of years. So happy to be here.

 
Dean Takahashi 

And the CTA did its own study. You guys may have seen it recently. And they said eSports sponsorship totals jumped from 342,002,018 the 470 million in revenue and 2019 and advertising increased from 176 million to 220 million in that time. So eSports is hot. We've kind of established that I guess. But tell us why gaming and eSports is important to  your brand. I'll start with Joshua.

 
Josh Cella 

To our brand, I mean, you know, Activision Blizzard is is historically a game creator. We have three different publishing units, Activision Blizzard, and King and that's across console PC and mobile games. And that's the heartbeat of our company that's where all the value is. That's where the history is with our, with our fans around the world. And we've started to develop other businesses like eSports that are tapping into that, that passion. So it's what we do on a daily basis. I think the other panelists probably have dad go with you on that one, huh?

 
Dean Takahashi 

Yeah, you probably got it. Okay. Great. Yeah, I mean, I, I would probably argue that this is the heartbeat of what you guys do. I'm probably the least endemic of the brands up here. So from my point of view, gaming is and eSports included in that gaming umbrella is just so critical. Because, you know, if you look at gaming and what gaming is today, it's not this kind of niche interest, the way it has historically been perceived. If you really look at the number of consumers in the United States that are actually gaming, it's more than it's like 67 80% 67 68% that's so that means like more Americans are gaming then are not gaming. Which means that it's just part of mainstream entertainment. And it's a passion point. So as, as a TV manufacturer, you know, we're very closely related to the hardware that connects and gives these gamers this gaming experience. So for me, you know, it's about understanding this audience and understanding from an innovation point, how do I make my product better, so that your gaming experience can be better? And then from marketing and just, you know, relationship building perspective, how do I understand you better so that I can be more relevant to, you know, in everything that we do, and in every way that we interact?

 
Sarah Looss 

I would say that gaming is the foundation of Twitch, it's the lifeblood, it's where we began. And I think it represents just huge opportunity. Like that's the word I would use, because it was a jumping off point to build this incredible community, which has expanded beyond gaming and beyond eSports, but we're growing right along with industry but it certainly is the foundation.

 
Bryan de Zayas 

Yeah and very much for Alienware gaming is at the foundation right the company was basically founded with the goal of making PCs and making it easier for gamers to do what they want to which is guess what? play video games right? So that is very much at the foundation when we're building new technology new innovation and you know as it pertains to maybe the folks in the audience like when you're thinking about gaming and and the marketplace and how you can participate, I think it's really important to know what your lane is like, where what can you own and drive. And so you know, for Alienware, we believe we can deliver that best technology for gamers. And so that's what, that's kind of the role that we think we play and why gaming is kind of so important to us.

 
Dean Takahashi 

Can we agree that say traditional sports is still bigger in a lot of ways, right? And my question is, why and like, you know, if, if all these demographic numbers tell us That gaming is really important and that eSports is growing and the audiences are bigger. Why is the NBA still so big? Why, you know, have those brand dollars not shifted? Just like that over the game? Because it's become bigger? That question for my co Yeah, my notes here, so

 
Josh Cella 

I'll start that. But uh, yeah, the NBA we do compare ourselves a lot to traditional sports. And we've taken a lot of those elements, what we think are the best elements of structure and consistency from traditional sports leagues and we've tried to layer on new elements where we've had the ability to innovate. But you know, the Overwatch league for just to use that as an example is in is going into the third season and traditional sports leagues have been around for decades, 50 years in some instances, so and the other thing that we run up against is because we do deal with that comparison, I was probably not really joking and wondering if that if our CEO and plant That question but uh, they didn't they never really had the commercial expectations that we have back then, you know, they started as like a as a way to organize sports and then it sort of grew from there. And we're coming up at an age where there's there's a little bit higher expectations from a monetization standpoint, we're fine with that everything is growing really healthfully. We think that the potential is absolutely there, you know, we look at the power of gaming is that it's ubiquitous. When when Blizzard launches a game, the next day, anyone in the world that has a PC and has Wi Fi availability could access that game the net, so we like it's like, you could hit a light switch and that game is live everywhere. That power doesn't exist in traditional sports. So that I think as a, as an industry, we're just tapping into that. It's going to take some time for sure. But I think we're all on a really great track for

 
Sarah Looss 

We're at that acceleration point. You know, I think We take if you think about fandom, like I think the fans and the experience, there's a lot that we borrow from traditional sports or we are inspired by. And the point that we're at now for eSports is just organization, opportunity, investment and economy around it. So I think what's happening right now is that, you know, there's a lot of ways they can play together and be inspired off of one another. But, you know, we wouldn't all be up here if we didn't think that eSports is going to go even further.

 
Bryan de Zayas 

And and turn onto it. I think why? You asked the question about why are traditional sports kind of in that regard? I also think it's generational. eSports. If you think about it is probably started, you can argue about 2005. Right. So this is a very young kind of market. And so when you think of traditional sports, like football, basketball, feels like they've been around since the beginning of time, right? And so but I think where we are from a ditch in the digital age, it's going to accelerate super fast. So you know, hundred years go by, it might just take us 10 years in, in the digital time and right brain Very quickly

 
Dean Takahashi 

Yeah, we got a good idea from everybody else how like how long they've been doing this like, you know, twitch from the very beginning of twitch right but for Dell and Alienware, I guess how long would you say you guys really got comfortable with and dove into eSports? Like, how many years is that now?

 
Bryan de Zayas 

Yeah, so literally right around 2005 is when Alienware started seeing the the potential of what EA Sports could be sponsoring and doing actually awards around tournaments around that time of giving out gift prizes and things like that, right. But back then it was very different. It was, you know, you'd go to actual physical events that were existing like an E three or a Pax and that's where these events would happen. And you do it there. Whereas today, you know, you have leagues like Overwatch league and all the other kind of leagues that are out there, where you actually have, you know, stadiums built for it and so on. So we've that transition, or that evolution has been actually pretty quick. What do you think? From 2007 2018, we're talking 12 years, it's not that long

 
Sarah Looss 

ago, the opportunity for the way that you can consume eSports you're essentially collapsing the distance between the professional and the fan. There's a way to interact with them, especially on Twitch which is really special. So it's that proximity it's it's the way that you can feel that there's zero distance between you and the and the athlete.

 
Dean Takahashi 

And getting back to, I guess why traditional sports is still bigger than a sports. There's a world and brands are playing here, right there. They're not automatically just swapping those dollars out. just yet. There's, it seems like I'm assuming there's a period of time where they're pausing and they're getting comfortable with this. Is that fair to say that everybody had to go through this process of getting comfortable with it. Probably more for Grayson Brian than your other guys but

 
Grace Dolan 

I mean, certainly it's and I think that goes to Sarah's point about investment. Right? It's, it's all kind of it all adds up together to create this larger infrastructure of Esports. I don't think anyone is comfortable with his eSports investment yet. And it's because no one really knows for sure what's the right way to do it. And it's because there isn't a sound infrastructure. I think with traditional sports, what's easiest, okay, here are the sports and within each of the sports, whether it's football, basketball, hockey, there's like a certain kind of audience segment that follows and then you can match up your demos. And it's, it's like clockwork, I mean, that same, that same existence that same universe lives within gaming as well, right. We all know that a person who, you know races like we play sforza is completely different from someone who plays Overwatch. And I think we're just starting to really pull those segmentations together to create infrastructure for branding investment. So I know one is certain how to do it. But if we use all of the traditional learnings about how you invest your marketing dollars within any interest or passion area, it's very similar. And I think it's, it's, there's just like just a world of opportunity. We're getting there.

 
Dean Takahashi 

And Bryan maybe Yeah, I think. I mean, your comfort level has ratcheted it up.

 
Bryan de Zayas 

Yeah, I think a little bit of a difference there is just where our brand started. And where we were formed was in gaming. So just being very native, kinda to the landscape. So understanding, okay, great. People are playing games, they're playing competitively, and people are watching them online right to to enjoy that. That makes sense to us. That makes sense to me, so to go and do that, and so we have ratcheted up across these sports over these last several years. To to great This point where it's starting to now get to, there's more infrastructure. There's more around how you can go activate these kinds of partnerships. And so while there's there, but we think we can do is help obviously move that along through technology. Okay.

 
Dean Takahashi 

There needs to be infrastructure. And I think if we're going to be helpful to the audience, like, what's your recommendation on how they should pull the trigger? Going into eSports going into games?

 
Josh Cella 

I have a good answer. I would, yeah, we, we've talked to people across the board and to your point, everyone is all brands are doing their own due diligence and are have different comfort levels already established. there's a there's a lot of different entry points. You have your twitch offers a variety of them, you know, you have what we're focused on are developing these professional esport leagues that are very similar to traditional sports. There's individual streamer relationships. So there's a variety It's hard for us to speak to it, we, we obviously think that the esport League, the development that we've helped usher in, has created a lot of this security for people to invest in. So that's that's where we're making that that large bet.

 
Grace Dolan 

And I so I mean, I would start from really foundation always like when you're thinking of investing it investing in anything, right first, where's your audience? Is your audience for your brand here in this world in this specific world, whether it be you know, the Overwatch league or whatever you sports league that you might be evaluating? And then you know, returns right? That's obviously a huge question like, what are your the returns that you can expect on your investment? And what's great about you know, gaming is so much of is digitally grounded. It is really easy to see, like, what is your reach, you know, like, how many impressions are you really making? And then I think you just test so you know, we've worked with twitch extensive litas just start piloting Little things like we did our first. You know, on my, on the monitor business on the SSD business. Also under my portfolio, we did the first you know, IRL, you know, rig build? And we're like, I don't know, do you think they'd like it? They loved it. Right? So and it's like, okay, so you're, you kind of get us, right, you get that this is important pilot.

 
Sarah Looss 

And I would, I would actually say so I think in the first, first and foremost, there's nothing to be scared of, especially when you root it in audience. So we often tell our partners that a great first step in is to just come onto our platform, you're going to reach a ton of 18 to 34 year olds run your beautiful creative there. And that's a way to begin. But I would give a big shout out to grace and her team because I think the key thing that they did was listen and evolve in the moment. And it was really, we've done remarkable work together. And I think a lot of it has to do with their willingness to test and to evolve. And to listen. So both listening to the twitch audience but also to the team at Twitch and vice versa.

 
Grace Dolan 

And same with Blizzard right, like Blizzcon is according to this year, right? Absolutely. And it's just a love fest up here,

 
Josh Cella 

I was just gonna, there's a huge investment in measurement to make investors feel secure with with making that investment. So we've from day one we've we've had, we hired Nielsen to come up with the AMA that allows brands to compare a rating versus a traditional sports rating in demographic and specific demographics. And then we have a whole slew of other measurement vendors that we hire. And we pay for all of that ourselves. Because we know that there was uncertainty in the beginning at went going back a few years and there still is, and we want to, we want to combat that with having all these tools at the disposal so that we could we can measure the investment and make sure that every brand feels feels really secure and what

 
Dean Takahashi 

they look across these Sports does everybody feel like there's enough data there already that's been collected and shared with the brands to the point that you know, they can make their decisions are there is there so a fair amount of that?

 
Josh Cella 

We didn't think there was previously. So in in 2018, when we launched Overwatch League, we made it our top priority to bring Nielsen in and compare us to traditional sports because we knew, actually, when we sent out the first press release, on our average minute audience, the world a very prominent reporter wrote back to us Thank you very, very, very much for being the first eSports organization to give me something that I could compare it to an NBA rating. So that was hugely important to us that we had the confidence to, to put ourselves up against traditional sports. And I think, I think more every company is adding and layering on more and more measurements. So I think we're in a much better place now than we were a few years ago.

 
Bryan de Zayas 

I would completely agree we're at a very different From place and that's why I think this digital age it's it's moving us so quickly together and capturing information to be able to understand are your investments paying off for you? Right? Because you put a lot of money behind. Technology can put a lot of money behind just from a marketing kind of perspective. But you need to know if you're going to get that return. And so if you're looking to invest in gaming and eSports, that's definitely something to know and ask for that data back. But what I would say is there's there's that monetary piece, of course, but I would say just remember who you're talking to and who this audiences is young people that are gamers are forget the gaming piece. They're young people that are out there, and they're very passionate about what they're doing. And that's gaming. And so if you're looking to invest or get into the space, focus in on what helps that gamer get closer to what they want, if you make it easy for them to play games, to watch to enjoy in a large screen TV to play their favorite games, to make it easy for them with whatever piece of technology that is they're going to want your product or your service or whatever it is. So making sure that that's what you're honing in on. That'd be my recommendation is go focus on that.

 
Dean Takahashi 

That authenticity. Authenticity is a very big word with gamers assume that there's ways to go into this and screw it up. Because you're not being authentic, right? So I wonder if you guys could address that in some way. Like, you know, things to, to think about or be careful about, and how to find your authentic brand messaging, then your authentic activation.

 
Sarah Looss 

I would start by saying that on Twitch, there's so many paths for it to be authentic, because there's a lot of native and organic ways that the community behaves, and they want those things to be powered by the advertisers because they understand that economy. They're there to support to support their their favorite streamers. And they're streamers mean, it's not just their gameplay that makes them a fan. It's oftentimes their personality. And you know, they're supporting them monetarily in many cases. So there's, whether it's bits or subscriptions brands getting involved in sort of those native ways as native pathways on the platform are great authentic ways in. But again, I would also say that, oftentimes, we're missing all of us who work in gaming, we're myth busting all the time. You know, it's, it's, it's true authenticity is so important, but also this, this is just part of culture. Gaming is culture. And you can be running your great creative and targeting an audience, just like you can in other parts of culture and entertainment. But when you are ready to go deeper, that authenticity becomes a lot more important, and you should trust your partners to help you find those really good pathways in

 
Grace Dolan 

Yeah, I would completely agree. I mean, we rely so heavily on our partners. I mean, for obviously, you know, we've discussed very peripherally, how we're working with Twitch, they've been such a phenomenal partner for Samsung, but you know, over the last couple years, we've also partnered with Xbox. And the reason was, you know, we we first began really realizing how important gamers were to our TV business in around 2016. When we realized that was actually a motivation for consumers to upgrade their TVs, and it's, you know, you're your first person shooter, you're playing a first person shooter game and your TV's frame rate don't, you know, match your console's frame rate and you die like you get shot? Like it's so you know, consumers were really saying, shoot, like, I need to get a new TV when they can keep up. And we're like, wow, like how do we how do we make sure that our TVs can always keep up? And so we started partnering with, you know, gaming industry experts, not just to gain credibility with this audience, but to really understand what was important to these to these gamers, right. And so, like, if you look at our TVs today, like we all have the gaming features that we've added, and I would say hands down, like I tell my kids on this one, we have the best Getting TVs in the market. And they're all grounded in insights. Like one of the examples I love to give like campers like who likes campers, right, but but you know, we have a feature that we just launched over the last year called Black, dynamic black equalizer. And it's really like, for all those creepers like your scene and they're just hiding out like, you can find them now on our TVs, right? Like it's all about giving gamers an unfair advantage. And just making the experience better and more fun. So like, lowering the input lag to like record breaking levels, like really just just keeping up you know, and we rely on our partners to help us understand this audience well enough to know what's important and how we can implement them in our innovation roadmaps.

 
Sarah Looss 

Gamers would say that's a fair advantage

 
Grace Dolan 

to be the one that's fair because be the one to find that creepy. Or like adaptive sound, we have this thing called object object tracking sound and that you Is AI to be able to identify now on the screen where the sound is coming from. So you can have like a more immersive and enhanced experience, but also like really be able to hear your enemies. So it's just it's cool. It's cool stuff. So technology agree I would add

 
Bryan de Zayas 

Don't Don't be dissuaded if you have a new product, feature software, whatever it might be, and you put it out there, you're gathering feedback. If you get a negative response initially from gamers, gamers are extremely passionate and very vocal about what they like and what gets them to enjoy their, their favorite game, or their favorite just pastime, right? And so, but it is very much appreciated by that target audience of gamers that you're asking. So they may tell you, you suck and it's don't don't ever do this. But inside they're actually they they enjoy that you have asked them and the next time you come back and ask and you're building a rapport over time, so It is hard to get into a gamers mindset. But once you're there, you're kind of there for life as long as you don't screw it up. So don't be afraid to ask, don't be afraid to take chances, listen and adapt. And you'll be very much appreciated for it.

 
Josh Cella 

I would just add to Brian's point there, which is exactly I've been trying to convey that I think the authenticity, concept and eSports and gaming is a little bit or has been historically a little overblown. And it's some brands have been really scared because we've seen nothing but unanimous positive sentiment from from consumers when brands come in and support what they're passionate about. And what I always say is any investment that you get to make if you're going to invest in the NBA or the MLS or any sport League, or with Twitch, you want to do it well. So that goes without saying so, you know, I don't think anyone is going to make a bad investment or or not put a lot of thought into what that execution is. And we so we we've seen the The fans just completely appreciate that. brands like Coca Cola, t mobile and others have come in to support. And I'll just give one example of Coca Cola last year during the Overwatch League playoffs, gave the they bought a bunch of twitch Overwatch league all access passes from Twitch. It's sort of a joint product between the two, the two of our companies, and they just gave them away on a twitch stream. And it was a very simple thing. That's obviously that doesn't require a tremendous amount of brand integration. It was just giving back a very timely, relevant piece of value to fans and the sentiment was in the chat was incredible. So I guess I that might that point is like it doesn't have to be overly complex. It could be pretty simple.

 
Grace Dolan 

Yeah. So you know, it's interesting. I mean, to your point, I think people get concerned about this audience because the gaming consumer audience at a highly level is just very savvy, right? Like, more likely than not your gamer is going to have a pop up blocker. Right? So you're like, ah, but I'm an advertiser, pop up blockers, how can I deliver my ads to them? I mean, at the same time, like, if you do it in the right way, this is probably the most embracing audience. And especially right now, while gaming is still so nascent, you know, it's like any brands that are in, you know, coming into the community to say, Hey, this is important. We're trying to make this bigger and bigger. We're trying to invest in this community. I like it's been an overwhelmingly positive response on you know, from Samsung, as well.

 
Sarah Looss 

I would stay on the Coca Cola example just to showcase the concept of like, in steps, building blocks. So it's a great example of something simple that we did together. I think one of the things that was a takeaway from that was this ability to sort of participate in the emotional aspect of Esports in gaming. So Coca Cola has, you know, since You know, done a really amazing job being part of one of those pathways on Twitch. So the moment that someone becomes a partner is a place where Coca Cola inserts themselves and becomes, you know, part of that celebrate Tory moment. And what that really is, is leaning into the emotion, the emotion that's always been there for traditional sports as well. But it's cool to see that and that was, you know, they tried something and then they built upon it.

 
Dean Takahashi 

I think, you know, there's been a lot of hype on eSports and the scale of the investment I guess, and that you know, how soon you should invest. You know, how you should be a pioneer, but not get too far ahead. is a good question for a lot of brands right now. And I bring up the example of Riot Games and League of Legends is 10 years old and has 8 million concurrent daily players. And, you know, the League of Legends, championships are just huge. All right. But, but Riot has said that they don't make money on eSports yet. And so, you know, the biggest game, the biggest eSports game in the world does not have a profitable eSports infrastructure yet. And so I think that seems like it should give everybody pause as to exactly, you know, the scale of what you have to accomplish here. I mean, everybody wants to get to that profitable eSports Empire, but it's going to take time, right? Sure.

 
Josh Cella 

I mean, we don't have the same issue of our properties not being profitable. So I would just say that it is possible and I just go back to what we said at the start is that this is it's still a new investment for both Riot and Activision Blizzard and That everybody else that's involved in the space. So this this, you know, we're going into the third season you know, and again not to go back to our properties but Overwatch league was it was already at already had a higher 18 to 34 rating in the second season, then some traditional sports on a complete apples to apples season to date in the second season. So we're not there's nothing for us to be discouraged about we're actually we feel great about it and, and, you know, profitability will will vary dependent on the company, of course, but it's we're absolutely in it for the for the long game here. So

 
Sarah Looss 

I think that that's it I think it's actually an opportunity for marketers the the pause or the question about whether or not is this going to be a good investment. It's a humongous opportunity for marketers because, you know, in our in to provide a little bit more qualitative data. We have a panel of 65,000 tweets community members and we're constantly asking them questions so we can learn more about the audience. And right now, they're not necessarily correlating specific advertising advertisers within categories with eSports. Yet, that means there's so much room and so much opportunity for brands to get involved and, and be and clean that space. You know, I think one example on Twitch that I've seen work really well is Honda and Team Liquid, it's been incredible to see that, you know, grow and become what it what it has. And again, it was building blocks. So starting being there and then slowly over time, being able to build that association by doing a lot of listening and spending a lot of time seeing what's working and what's not working. for marketers out there. I mean, this is a huge opportunity, because those associations are not established like they are in traditional sports.

 
Dean Takahashi 

Um, what are some best practices and some examples of success you guys have in this space? Start here.

 
Josh Cella 

We just, I mean, we've actually sort of run the gamut on the different ways our sponsors will activate for each league that we represent Overwatch league Call of Duty League, just focusing on those two, which we consider like, sort of franchise and professional sports leagues. We only have, you know, call it six or seven category exclusive sponsors. So from a sponsorship perspective, think of us just like the league, like the NFL has Gatorade on the sidelines, those are those are types of, you know, all inclusive sponsors. And in some cases, you are able to integrate product if the product is relevant. In some cases, it's all about content. Actually, in most cases, there's a there's a heavy focus on content development, social distribution of that content. I think that's another area where we differ from traditional sports leagues. I used to work at the NFL and there's they're very I guess, they have a lot of control over their content and where that content goes. And we came into this knowing that one we could we could look like maybe an improved model over some traditional sports leagues and to our audiences is 100% on social all the time communicating with their, with their friends and communities. So we we are very open with our content. So when we develop content, whether it's a series or a variety of content pieces with with a partner, we let it get distributed everywhere. We basically let the, let the client own it just as much as we own it. And and then everybody could distribute that because that's really where the majority of the consumption will take place. So it's,

 
Josh Cella 

I would say, be answering this question the previous one, we really put a lot of effort into the execution and it will be different for every client. Of course, everything that we do is custom, based on what the client's goals are and needs. But we there are a lot of checkpoints internally at Activision and Blizzard We won't, we won't really allow a bad execution, we have to go through our development teams who are really the ultimate brand overseers for our leagues. And they won't let us do something that is bad or inauthentic. So we luckily have that which of course, when you go through the process could be frustrating at times, but the end result ends up being a really great execution that that has a very good chance of resonating with the fans. Chris?

 
Grace Dolan 

Yeah, I mean, so I'm, you know, I oversee a business and ultimately, for us, you know, we can manage, you know, the success of tactical programs, but what we're really looking for is two things, you know, how is it moving the business and how is it moving consumer sentiment for us, you know, over the last couple years, we have carved out a gaming audience measurement plan. And we've seen, asked astronomical lift in brand sentiment, not just an awareness but in consideration and another measure called PTO just proud to own and essentially, in a category like TVs, it's so critical because, you know, we have you know, these consumers buy a TV every five to seven years, you have to be proud of the TV you own if you're going to bring them back into the franchise. I think the end and the other measurement is npsa if you had to pick one single answer, what brand would it be? And within the gaming audience, we saw double digit growth across all four measures when we started talking to a gaming audience, with relevant gaming messaging in relevant channels, about some of the things that we were doing not just with partnerships, but with our innovation. On the business end, we've seen tremendous growth in our queue led line which has probably the most robust set of gaming features available today. And I mean, last year alone, we sold 1.5 million units. We launched q led for the first time in 2016. I mean, it's, it's astronomical. So it's working, you know, this audience is receptive, we're offering a product that that they find to be valuable. And, you know, we're building a real relationship with consumers who gave

 
Sarah Looss 

I'd say sort of like, in the weeds, like just go back to Samson and Twitch working together. It's is it's drilling down as far as like the language that we're using and tweaking one word in messaging, which is really important but at a high level I think it's what we've always done in advertising is you you want someone to feel something right so in gaming it could be a surprise and delight it's all the it's all the freezers Wendy's blowing up all the freezers and fortnight or and that's you know, exciting and it in its in feet, you feel something from that on Twitch that I think a best practices, you know, how are you giving back To the streamer community, how are you enabling something for the community audience for them to support the streamers? So it's, it's exactly that they want it they they're there because they they have an emotional connection to this and you need to feel that in some way.

 
Bryan de Zayas 

And and then you ask about kind of best practices, right. And so, one of the biggest best practices we've been able to pull down Alienware, and

 
Dean Takahashi 

Mic is going in and out.

 

Bryan de Zayas 

All right, I'll speak louder. Hopefully you guys can hear me if it goes out. But don't Alienware large scope and scale across a wide range of different targets, different audiences and so on. But as a best practice, as we're developing things we're thinking of where do we invest, what products do we bring to market where the right marketing partnerships and so on that we pursue? What's at the core of that is still that gamer that's sitting there playing a game or the streamer that's they're trying to figure out how they're going to go and pay their monthly rent because they're streaming right? So what we're trying to do is enable this knable that gamer and understand what's important to them. Because if you can figure that out of what your tech and your service does, then you're going to ingratiate yourself to gamers and the rest is going to come, then you're going to have a following of people that want your product that understand you care about them. And so I think a lot of the everybody up here understands that and is building products around that, right. And so I think all those things come once you understand your role in the space, and you're able to deliver that to this audience.

 
Dean Takahashi 

I think we're getting down to our last topic here. And we might try to try to sort of run through this one quickly. But the area of potential and area of I guess difficulty is women in this space, right. 29% of you sports fans are women. And then there was one report that said 62% of women eSports fans do not believe that sports brands market to them. So it looks like there's a role For brands to play here in actually bringing some change about to this market, right? What do you guys

 
Josh Cella 

think? I'll just a quick count. I mean, we completely agree it's a it's a really important initiative for us. And, you know, we had we have one pro for Overwatch League, a woman with who was playing on the Shanghai dragons. And we would love to see more of this. And I think it's something that everybody here and our companies could really help push along and need to push along.

 

Sarah Looss 

50% of the panelists are women. Yes,

 
Grace Dolan 

that's good. It's a good start.

 
Sarah Looss 

But I would say it's a problem, but it also again, a huge opportunity. And I think what I've learned by being a Twitch is how nuanced this conversation needs to be. So we definitely work. A lot of a lot of advertisers come to us and say I want to support women in gaming. But what does that actually mean? I mean, we're really talking about an identity story. And so when you're doing that the nuance is incredibly important. So, you know, we we've, we've had some missteps, we've had some opportunities to learn. And a lot of the women in gaming, they don't want to be called female gamers, they want to be gamers, they want that equality. So as an industry, we've got to tune into that we've got to lean in and be honest with each other and talk about it. And I think we in particular need to listen to the women that are doing it themselves, and they're young, as all eSports athletes are. But we should be listening to them and supporting them in a way that is real and not just about women in gaming as like a container but actually, as something broader and something can push forward.

 
Grace Dolan 

I think from the brand side for us, like the advertising that we create needs to depict women and men gaming, right? The reality is that a woman can love gaming just as much as in Man, and they do. So why are we making that distinction in the way that we depict this this, you know, passion area, right? So I think that's the first step. And then I think it's like really making sure that we're talking to our gaming audience and understanding her needs, what are their different needs? Right? And then accounting for that? Do we build products that potentially suit the needs of one consumer more than the other? Maybe? Right? I think these are all things that we're trying to figure out and learn. But I think it starts with a commitment to this to this woman.

 
Bryan de Zayas 

I think it starts with, we need to make sure there's a we've been having a lot of this conversation. I think we need to start with a safe zone for young girls to understand that it's safe for them to play games in a certain community because it's not always safe for for younger, very personal topic to me, I've a 10 year old daughter loves playing games. And I hear the things that sometimes are said and some things are not said. And it's not always the safest environment, right. And so I think what we We all of us on this panel in this entire industry, we have a role to play in helping enable young girls understand that, hey, as you grow up, this is something you can enjoy your hobby. Don't drop it, whether you're pro or not. Enjoy what you enjoy and make it easy for them to enjoy it. And so, have we cracked the code? Absolutely not. It's probably the most difficult work we haven't had, but we need to go figure it out.

 
Dean Takahashi 

Anybody have a 22nd closing quote, closing thought anything you wanted to say you didn't get to see like nice chairs.Leave the audience. Thank you very much. Thank you.

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