Why holding groups should be eyeing up gaming agencies

Why holding groups should be eyeing up gaming agencies
The Media Leader Podcast

At The Future of Audio and Entertainment in April, a number of delegates addressed the fact that gaming is still not receiving as much attention as it deserves on the media plan. So what can we do about it?

Rhys Hancock, a technology, media and entertainment consultant who previously worked at Epic Games and, before that, co-founded metaverse studio and agency Metavision, sat down with Jack Benjamin on The Media Leader Podcast recently to discuss why he feels media agencies could be doing more to pick up the slack.

Hancock argued that agencies struggle with global gaming remits, a lack of integration with specialist gaming agencies and are too siloed when it comes to creative and media. He suggested a few steps agencies could take to gett better in the burgeoning media channel, the ones that are doing well — and why holding companies should take note.

Listen to an excerpt or read an edited transcript below:


The Media Leader: If you could wave a magic wand and create some changes, what would you like to see that you think would allow agencies to better handle gaming remits?

Rhys Hancock: That’s a really good question. It’s not easy because I’ve never worked network agency side. But looking from the other side in, I think that separation between creative and media I don’t think can hold in gaming for much longer. Especially if you’re trying to do the more ambitious stuff.

I think it can hold if you’re just doing intrinsic or maybe some of these branded integrations. But if you’re really going to use gaming as a brand-building channel, I think you’ll need to get clients aligned across both. Maybe that’s just better integration with the media agency that’s alongside it.

In all honesty, I foresee this trend toward this idea of 360-degree entertainment and brands being a part of that in some way. I think the same characteristics will apply: coming together of creative, production and distribution. Distribution is increasingly platformised. Production is going to be more efficient — things like AI and real time — and creative potentially can be empowered by these things.

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I’d like to see agencies putting together global propositions that speak to that. That maybe have an upskilled creative team with a virtual production studio. That have media people ready to distribute this content at a global scale. That might be happened — I’m not sure, I haven’t seen anything. I’m pretty sure I would’ve seen something.

I think these big agencies, if they’re serious about gaming and the future of entertainment at a global scale, need to be putting that in place.

In the short term, what people could be doing is replicating the model we had at Metavision with an unnamed creative agency. The UK is so blessed for — I mean, the creators who make these things are all over the place. But in terms of agencies, I think the UK has the best ecosystem in the world.

Metavision, which I co-founded and still exists and is doing some great work; Carter, which is awesome, particularly in Roblox and music, but they’ve also just launched a Fortnite studio in the last year; Dubit, which is again more of a production house — they’re in Leeds, they do loads of stuff; Geek if you’re more agency side; Doppelgänger, which is the creative agency arm of The Gang, which is again one of the big production companies.

They’re all based in the UK. If I was an agency with a big brand wanting to do this, I would find the right team that fits your needs, integrate them and learn from them. Because I can guarantee these teams won’t know as much about your brand as you do, but they sure as hell know what they’re doing in these spaces.

So, integrate with these teams, learn from them, and if I was [an agency] network, I’d probably buy some of them.

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Thanks, as always, to our production partners Trisonic for editing this episode.

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