Exclusive Q&A w/ Antoine Jullemier, VP of Gaming at Bidstack
Tell us about your career to date and how you came to join Bidstack? (highlights and stories)
I’ve been immersed in the video games industry, digital environment and ad tech for the last 7 years, and specialise in advertising and monetisation. In 2016, I left my dear France to join the London branch of the French ad-exchange Mozoo and develop the Surikate product in Europe, which was the direct performance arm of the business (UA) for leading games and lifestyle apps. Following a period of significant growth, Mozoo acquired AdinCube in 2017, a leading ad mediation platform for game app developers. Here I was given the opportunity to join the new team, where I utilised my expertise to secure publisher partnerships across the EMEA region. A year later, in 2018, following a rapid period of expansion, AdinCube was acquired by Ogury, where I successfully built the gaming publisher portfolio from the ground up. Here I was able to onboard game studios such as Miniclip, Kwalee, Outfit7, Crazy Lab Games, Good Job Games and many more. In 2021 I was given the opportunity to join Bidstack to scale up the publisher portfolio across mobile, PC, and console and I am now responsible for the supply side of the business in Europe and in various other markets globally.
What does your role as ‘VP of Gaming’ at Bidstack entail?
Primarily it is focused on managing and working with a young and entrepreneurial team who are passionate about gaming and helping game developers and publishers to unlock a new, incremental revenue stream that protects the gaming experience for the end user.
Reporting to our US-based SVP Gaming, my role is essentially to lead business development for Europe with game developers and publishers across the UK, EMEA and other international territories.
Our mission is to educate studios on the benefits of integrating Bidstack’s monetisation technologies, regardless of platform and structuring deals with AAA publishers, leading game studios, and AAA titles.
What drew you to the games industry?
My path into gaming was carved out quite naturally. If I take a step back, I’ve always been passionate about gaming and have been a player myself for as long as I can remember. I can still see myself playing the SEGA Mega Drive with my brothers and spending hours on my Gameboy or Nintendo DS before evolving with each generation of new consoles like the PS1, PS2, the Xbox 360 etc.
When I started my career, I began in digital and advertising on mobile, first on the UA side of things at Surikate from Mozoo and then on the in-game monetisation side through various ad mediation platforms and ad networks; this gave me the opportunity to engage with game studios for the very first time.
The creativity, genuine talent, and passion surrounding these individuals really made an impression on me, and I found it amazing to discover more about programmatic exchanges and all the rules, processes and technical considerations that were happening in the background of the games themselves in order to drive revenue for those studios.
Today, I’m very grateful to work within such a fast-growing and ever-evolving industry. The gaming market is a multi-billion dollar industry that engages around 3 billion gamers yearly, and that number only looks set to grow.
The industry is no longer a niche interest; video games are now mainstream and very much a part of everyday life for billions. Advertisers have started to pay more attention to that in addition to their traditional media mix like TV, Print or Social Media, which makes it the best place to be, in my opinion.
What’s super exciting in our industry is that you can never get bored. From new user privacy and data protection laws, new monetisation formats and gaming platforms to record-breaking mergers and acquisitions, there is always something new happening.
Are you a gamer in your downtime/what do you play?
I’m still a gamer myself, mainly on console. I’m a big fan of my PS5, and if you don’t find me hitting some COD Modern Warfare 2 these days, I will probably be trying to finish Elden Ring!
Bidstack is an in-game advertising and video game monetisation platform. What does this mean in practice?
Bidstack’s mission is to empower game developers to dynamically control and monetise space within and around their gaming environments.
Our programmatic platform pioneered how brands deliver ads into natural spaces within video games – with these brand experiences varying from trackside banners and cityscape billboards to pitchside LED boards, skins and other contextually relevant surfaces within a gaming environment.
The platform was designed with performance in mind, and all of our products ensure stability and security for our partners across their in-game, rewarded video, and in-menu inventory. Our proprietary technology also ensures that the realism of a game is maintained by rendering effects on top of creatives to make them a seamless part of the experience.
Bidstack gives publishers total control over what appears in their games via our AdConsole – here; they are able to approve or reject ads in real-time before they appear in their gaming environments. We further bolstered our ad quality capabilities with the acquisition of Pubguard (a malvertising and ad quality platform) in 2019, with their suite of tools ensuring that we deliver a premium advertising experience for our partners and maintain strict category exclusions.
Bidstack delivered the world’s first programmatic in-game campaign in 2018. Since then, we have grown from a team of 4 staff to more than 80 across 5 international locations and became a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange. We also have a unique sales footprint thanks to our strategic partners and secured a strong portfolio of +150 games across Mobile, PC and Console.
However, Advertising represents just one use case for our technology, with many of our gaming partners utilising the platform as a content management tool to reduce dev cycles and manage brand licensing relationships across their titles.
What are the benefits of in-game advertising for developers and players?
The benefits are numerous. Our technology unlocks a new, sustainable route to revenue for publishers, which is non-intrusive and can work alongside existing monetisation strategies.
Developers can now authentically recreate real-world environments in which audiences have come to expect the presence of realistic advertising, including billboards, banners or product placements across in-game, in-menu and rewarded video formats.
We are the leading solution when it comes to helping developers across all platforms (Mobile, PC, Console, Metaverse) navigate the waves of the medium successfully, opening this new incremental revenue and reducing ad pressure with a better user experience.
In a world where the vast majority of gaming ads are performance-based, the brand advertising we offer reduces churn rates and increases user retention for developers, making the game a more premium and safe environment.
This leads me to the player benefits. Unlike other digital ad types, in-game advertising also sits better with consumers. Seven in 10 UK gamers feel positive or neutral towards organically embedded in-game advertising. Among console gamers, 22% are more likely to buy brands advertised in games.
While some existing and well-established ad formats can be intrusive (full-screen unskippable ads etc.), when done well, in-game advertising, fully native and blended in the environment in a non-clickable way, can really increase the immersion and make the game a more realistic experience. I would personally love to stumble across a billboard promoting the latest smartphone from a real brand when walking around Night City in CyberPunk. This would look awesome and make me feel this is kind of real!
What’s the best in-game ad you’ve seen lately?
Probably our campaign with Paco Rabanne and Starcom into Rezzil, which won the Best Regional Campaign – North America at the TheWires 2022 ceremony recently. It delivered impressive results through the use of contextual and virtual reality, leading the way for future opportunities in that space.
What are some of in-game’s challenges, and how can they be overcome?
One key challenge is the fact that every player is different, especially within the free-to-play arena, and will react to a game’s experience in their own way, so it’s important to explore different ways to monetise your titles.
Harmony between in-app purchases and in-game advertising is key. Both solutions are complementary and need to work in the right balance. As I was saying earlier, there are so many innovative formats in the market now that game developers have a real opportunity to support the development of their games whilst enhancing the experience for players.
Another challenge is keeping up with the new innovations that are driving value in a constantly evolving market. To stay ahead of the game, I think you have to build trust with your players and show them respect by leveraging quality branding ads in formats that are designed to enhance their playing experience rather than polluting the game experience with overly intrusive, non-relevant advertising that will damage the whole experience.
So with players now less accustomed to paying for accessing their favourite games and increasingly frustrated with intrusive monetisation methods, many developers are now turning to in-game advertising as an option that works for game creators and players alike.
Looking forward, what can we expect to see from Bidstack – and you – in 2023?
Bidstack is in a stage of exciting growth. We recently announced some huge hires in the US and 2023 shows no sign of slowing down. Next year, we anticipate expanding our range of products and ad formats, bringing on board more games studios and brands, and further growing our talented team. For me personally, a part of my job that I love is attending amazing technology conferences and gaming events. With the world now fully opened up again, 2023 presents amazing opportunities for us to get our technology in front of the world’s best publishers and brands.
SIA Player Media: Latvia’s Path to Safer Gambling: The Nation’s Success in Eradicating Illegal Online Gambling
SIA Player Media: As Latvia’s legal online betting and gambling market continues to flourish, industry experts predict a substantial gross profit of €172 million by 2025. The growth trend is already evident, with the market achieving €109 million in gross winnings in 2021 alone, representing an annual growth rate of 26% over the past three years. However, amidst this prosperity, a formidable challenge persists: the encroachment of illegal gambling sites.
Unveiling the Hidden Menace: The Surge of Illegal Online Gambling
Illicit online gambling sites have surreptitiously carved out much of Latvia’s gambling market. In 2021, these unregulated platforms raked approximately €33 million, undermining the legal sector’s revenue potential. The gravity of the situation becomes even more apparent when considering the impact on the state budget, which foregoes an estimated €3 million in tax revenue annually. If properly harnessed, these funds could bolster public services and support the nation’s development.
Government Takes Aim: Enforcing Stricter Regulations
Despite the challenges of illegal gambling, the future outlook is optimistic. Latvian authorities are steadfastly implementing stringent regulations to combat this burgeoning issue. The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority, the apex regulatory body overseeing the gambling industry, wields the power to suspend licenses of any gambling organization in Latvia. This encompasses gambling operators, lottery organizers, gambling machine providers, and venue owners. Noncompliance with regulations can result in severe penalties, including license revocation and the restriction of business operations.
Empowering the Regulator: The Role of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority
The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority plays a pivotal role in shaping the gambling landscape in Latvia. In addition to overseeing and controlling gambling and lottery organizers, the authority fulfills several crucial functions. These include:
- developing regulatory enactments,
- maintaining a comprehensive accounting and statistical analysis system,
- registering gambling machines and equipment,
- providing critical information to facilitate the administration of gambling and lottery taxes.
Moreover, the authority ensures the smooth operation of the unified gaming machine control system, employs online data exchange with gambling organizers for robust monitoring and manages the self-restricted persons register.
A Triumph Over Illicit Gambling: Collaborative Measures and Optimistic Projections
The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority stands against illegal online gambling, spearheading efforts to eliminate this menace from Latvia’s digital landscape. By enacting new laws and regulations, the authority aims to foster a healthier and more accountable online kazino market. Notably, the regulator is not alone in this battle. Banks actively block payments to illegal gambling companies and foreign casino IP addresses and impose fines on locals participating in illicit gambling activities. As a result, Latvia is witnessing a triumph over unlawful online gambling, and future projections are decidedly optimistic for the betting and gambling market.
Embracing a future of regulated and responsible online gambling, Latvia utilizes its thriving industry’s full potential while safeguarding its citizens’ interests and the integrity of its economy.
Gods Reign reveals its All-Star Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) roster
Gods Reign, India’s leading professional gaming and entertainment company headquartered in Bangalore, has unveiled its elite Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) roster that has been signed from esteemed American Esports organization TSM (Team Solo Mid). The team is gearing up to make an instant impact as it goes head-to-head against the leading BGMI teams of the country at the Skyesports Champions Series which is set to commence from today.
Comprising some of the most prominent athletes from India, the roster is led by in-game leader (IGL) Robin Singh Shekhawat (Robin) and includes well-renowned assaulters Shubham Sahoo (NinjaJOD) and Harsh Rao (Aquanox) as well as prominent filter Hamza Hyderabadwala (Blaze).
Commenting on the unveiling of the roster, K.R.Rohith, CEO of Gods Reign said, “It is with great pleasure and excitement that we unveil our latest BGMI roster which consists of some of the most incredibly talented individuals from the country. Having been one of India’s most dominant Battle Royale teams, Gods Reign is looking to maintain that reputation and is confident that this roster will help us cement our prominence in the ecosystem. The organization is thrilled to have them on board and we are eagerly looking forward to their world-class performances in upcoming tournaments.”
As the IGL of the team, Robin’s proven expertise and experience will be instrumental in helping the team grow and improve with each game. While NinjaJOD is a rising star in the world of competitive gaming who is known for his quick reflexes and his ability to outmaneuver his opponents, Aquanox is a highly skilled player with a reputation for being one of the best in the game.
Blaze is another top player who has a deep understanding of the game and is known for his strategic thinking as well as for his ability to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. As a unit, NinjaJOD, Aquanox, and Blaze have emerged victorious in numerous high-profile tournaments previously including the distinguished Loco x Nodwin All-Stars Invitational last year.
“Gods Reign is one of the most notable Esports organizations in the country and it is a feeling of immense pride to be playing for them. We as a team have always been united and had continued our grind in BGMI with utmost dedication even when the game was not available. This not only helped us to stay in competitive shape but also improved our strategic approach, gameplay, and communication. Now that game has returned, we can successfully execute our plans in the tournaments and elevate Gods Reign to the champion’s status in the BGMI ecosystem,” said Robin Shekhawat, in-game leader of Gods Reign’s BGMI roster.
With a strong reputation in the Esports community, Gods Reign has a rich history of triumphing in Battle Royale titles in the past. The organization has consistently been a part of the LAN tournaments and has contributed significantly toward fostering an ecosystem that enables Battle Royale titles including BGMI to thrive.
The team will now have its sights set on reigning supreme against the top teams of the country and securing a share of the INR 25 lakh prize pool at the Skyesports Champions Series.
Gods Reigns unveiled as franchise of Skyesports Masters; star-studded CS:GO roster ready to dominate India’s biggest gaming tournament
Gods Reign, India’s leading Esports organization based in Bangalore, has been announced as a franchise team of the Skyesports Masters, the country’s biggest gaming tournament with its star-studded Counter-Strike:GO (CS:GO) roster gearing up to make waves at the prominent tournament.
Gods Reign has revealed its CSGO roster ahead of the tournament, which is home to some of the title’s biggest stars from the country. Their lineup includes:
- Anshul “KiiLSwitCh” Adarkar – IGL / Support
- Hrishikesh “Crazy_Gamer” Shenoy – Rifler
- Piyush “Clouda” Kalwania – Rifler
- Akash “Ph1NN” Bose – Rifler
- Parijaat “Rev3nn” Banerjee – Awper/ Secondary IGL / Support
The Skyesports Masters is India’s first-ever franchised league with eight teams and is set to begin soon with its League Stage spanning multiple weeks. From here, the top teams will advance to the Skyesports Masters Playoffs, which is set to happen as a LAN event. With a total prize pool of INR 2 crore and some of the biggest names in gaming set to compete, the tournament will be a spectacle for Esports audiences across the country.
Commenting on the development, K.R.Rohith, CEO of Gods Reign stated, “We are incredibly delighted to announce our participation in the biggest Esports tournament. Our organization is committed to contributing to the growth of CS:GO’s ecosystem in the country and Skesports Masters will act as the perfect catalyst for it. The tournament is not just an opportunity to compete with India’s best CS:GO teams, but a chance to showcase the immense potential of Esports and the incredible talent of our team. We believe in the ability of our supremely skilled athletes and cannot wait to show the nation what we’re made of.”
While the team’s notable players including team captain KiiLSwitCh and Crazy_Gamer have represented India on the international stage in CS:GO at the World Esports Championships in 2021 and 2022, star rifler Clouda is part of the team that will be competing to secure their berth in the title at the prestigious tournament this year.
“Representing our organization in this revolutionary tournament is a feeling of great pride for the entire team. All of us will be pouring our hearts and souls into preparing for the league by developing strategies, perfecting our teamwork to excel as a team and improving our individual gameplay. We are looking forward to making our fans proud and proving our mettle against the very best in the game,” said Anshul Adarkar, captain of Gods Reign’s CS:GO team.
Gods Reign will further be making two additions to the team from the open-for-all cafe qualifiers to abide by the Skyesports Masters roster rules. The Skyesports Masters cafe qualifiers are set to happen across 20 Indian cities.
By utilizing their supreme ability and the efficient teamwork, the team will go out with all guns blazing to win the tournament and cement their name as India’s best CS:GO unit.
SIA Player Media: Latvia’s Path to Safer Gambling: The Nation’s Success in Eradicating Illegal Online Gambling
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