Mail Metro Media strives to be ‘early adopter’ as it develops gaming strategy

Mail Metro Media strives to be ‘early adopter’ as it develops gaming strategy

Mail Metro Media is formally going after gaming audiences.

The publisher this week announced a new global gaming strategy with the goal of targeting the 13m gamers among its audience with new content.

It follows more than a year of research into the gaming sector by Mail Metro Media’s leadership, as it has become apparent that gaming is an increasingly important and mainstream medium.

“We were getting a number of briefs coming through from entertainment brands leading on gaming IP [intellectual property],” Tracy Middleton, Mail Metro Media’s head of media and entertainment, told The Media Leader.

She believes Hollywood is just “at the start of its journey” in tapping into gaming IP, such as through popular TV shows and films like The Last of Us (Sky/Max), Fallout (Amazon Prime Video) and The Super Mario Bros Movie (Universal). Thus, gaming will only continue growing in popularity.

According to Middleton, Mail Metro Media’s push into gaming is editorially rather than commercially driven. Apart from publishing reviews of popular titles, the Mail has previously been doing “very little” on gaming — a missed opportunity given the popularity of gaming among its audiences.

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“They were getting their gaming content elsewhere,” she conceded, even though Mail Metro Media’s gaming-interested audience apparently “dwarfed” niche outlets, thanks in part to the Mail‘s general popularity. The newspaper reaches a combined 23.2m readers across print and digital, according to the latest PAMCo figures, and has the largest following among global publishers on TikTok.

As Middleton asked: “Why weren’t we delivering content to this audience and keeping them in our ecosystem for longer?”

She told The Media Leader that the publisher is “trying to be the early adopter” by approaching the gaming market more aggressively than its peers. From a commercial perspective, that could provide opportunities to approach non-endemic gaming brands seeking to speak to gaming audiences but finding less traditional media plays too risky.

Emphasis on TikTok

Given the Mail‘s broad audience, Mail Metro Media wants to appeal to everyone from hardcore gaming enthusiasts and esports fans to casual mobile players and parents wanting to connect with their Roblox- and Fortnite-playing children.

“We recognise that gaming is not a single audience — and not everyone thinks of themselves as gamers,” added Mail Metro Media chief revenue officer Dominic Williams. “Our audience expertise, content creation skills and diverse portfolio enables us to connect our partners with audiences across the gaming spectrum.”

The Media Leader that understands efforts into boosting gaming content are being led by the entire editorial team at the Mail. Mourad El-Dine Abdou has been appointed to lead the gaming strategy across social media, with a particular focus on TikTok, as managing producer for Mail Gaming.

Mail Gaming set up its own sub-branded TikTok channel 10 weeks ago and already has over 26,000 followers.

The Sun and Mail neck and neck in total monthly reach

Unique audience composition?

The expanded entertainment strategy comes as the Mail has also undertaken an “ambitious AV journey” in recent months, as it looks to expand its audiences through new media formats. Meanwhile, the publisher is looking to lean more heavily into topics that already receive high engagement, such as celebrity and sport.

In the case of gaming, more than half of the extant gaming audience on MailOnline and Metro (6.6m) is female, according to DMG Media’s proprietary data tool, dmg:ID. Among their 6.4m 18- to 44-year-old audiences, half say gaming is their “favourite pastime”.

Middleton called the opportunity to reach female gamers “the most exciting part of that [audience] insight”, adding: “Female gamers are not celebrated as much as they should be within other gaming content.”

Female gaming influencers do not receive enough attention, she suggested, despite having interesting stories to tell. Failing to cover that market would result in missing out on considerable crossover opportunities between gaming and other popular Mail verticals, such as fashion, beauty, celebrities and influencers.

Middleton concluded: “Why aren’t we talking about them like how we’re talking about Love Island influencers?”

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