IGN on the power of specialist media

IGN won the Media Team prize at the MCV Awards last March.

Following this win, Dan Kilby, commercial projects and marketing manager, tells MCV about the company’s strategy, the opportunities offered by eSports and why specialist sites are trusted.

Congratulations on winning the Media Team category.
Thank you. We put a huge amount of effort into every campaign we work on – from coming up with big, original ideas, making them happen, and ensuring what we do gets results. We also like to think we’re pretty decent people to work with, which can’t hurt. Winning this award means all that hard work has been recognised by our clients, partners and friends in the industry, and that the best-in-class service we offer is indeed just that.

Why do you think you won the award this year?
We bring new, energetic and exciting opportunities to every campaign and our scale combined with our multi-platform offering means we can make a real impact for our partners. We go to great lengths to come up with a variety of big and creative ideas and we have a vast, global pool of experts, content creators and engineers to collaborate with. There is no problem if an idea comes from London but the best person to work on it is based in San Francisco. The result is that anything we deliver is the best it can possibly be.

How would you evaluate 2015?
2015 was a great year for IGN: we set traffic records, hitting 5.9m unique visitors in the UK. We launched IGN in new markets, released new products, forged exciting partnerships, and we have been the exclusive gaming partner on Snapchat’s Discover platform, whose core demographic starts younger than we traditionally see on IGN.
We brought local sites to Poland, France, Brazil, Romania and Hungary and strengthened our app line-up by launching on Apple TV. We also ran some of our most innovative campaigns yet, for the Witcher 3 we teamed up with cinema chain DCM, to create The Witcher Film Club. And in October we recreated Victorian London and live-streamed brand new gameplay footage to people all over the world as we launched the first ever IGN Premiere with Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

Do you plan to launch more new features like IGN Premiere?
You can count on it. For us, it’s incredibly important to keep our offering fresh for both our users and partners as the game and digital media space evolves at an incredible pace. Our business relies on us being able to set that pace.

What are your expectations for the year to come?
I’m really looking forward to exploring opportunities within the eSports space. Last year we launched a new video series with Coca-Cola called eSports Weekly and just this month have announced a new radio show: IGN eSports Today. In the UK we are involved in exciting conversations to bring local, original eSports programming to IGN and will hopefully have more to share soon.

We recently published data showing that 83 per cent of UK gamers trust the specialist games press and 68 per cent of them are influenced by it – are you surprised by these figures?
It’s very easy to have one’s perspective warped by the hostile vocal minority present in comments, forums and social media, who are claiming that ‘everyone hates this game’, ‘no one likes this website’ or ‘X developer sucks’. The reality is that they don’t represent the wider gaming population and figures like this bring a warming reassurance to that theory.
I find it very interesting that YouTubers – often dubbed ‘influencers’ – carry less influence than specialist press, which to me screams how important heritage and the cumulative experience that comes with that is to sites like IGN. Ultimately, I believe influencing the decision to actually purchase a product is the result of the many different factors and we shouldn’t identify any as the silver bullet.

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