Lyon’s Vidcoin has raised a €1 Million round of funding Virtual Network, Kima Ventures, and business angels, the company announced this week. Vidcoin’s video advertising on casual games have been a real hit in the past year, bringing in 300 new app partners, increasing their global reach to 100 million unique visitors per month. The company as, to date, delivered 2500 ad campaigns, which allow users to gain free ‘points’ inside of games in exchange for watching a video (with the subsequent opportunity to click-through to the advertiser’s page).
Casual gaming isn’t going anywhere – speaking with BigPoint CEO Khaled Helioui last week at the Enternext Tech Conference, it was clear that Bigpoint and competitors like King.com & Rovio (who has been suffering this year, laying off 16% of the workforce in October) are going to keep pursuing free-to-play games as long as users are willing to play them. The big argument, that casual gaming opens up users who previously wouldn’t have paid for console games (mostly for hardcore or ‘core’ gamers) or even mid-level gaming devices like PS Vita or the Wii U, and who weren’t willing to pay for smartphone games.
“As we see media buyers getting smarter about their approach to mobile video they are beginning understand that pre-loaded in-app video offers a real advantage over streaming video in terms of overall campaign quality and thus performance on mobile.” – Grand Gudgel, COO Vidcoin
While In-app payments from a small subset of these games’ users might work now, history shows that it’s not sustainable over the long-term – users have a limited supply of money, and they tend to be ‘volatile,’ as Helioui pointed out to me.
So here comes Vidcoin: they offer non-volatile (& volatile) casual gamers the opportunity to watch a nice long video advertisement (one of the last remaining ad sectors where CPM rates are still up above the 5€ marker), in exchange for free credits to the game their playing.
The company has already opened a NYC office, and plans to continue growth in the coming year, working with IAB to create pre-loaded video ad standards (which don’t currently exist) – they also have plans to open offices in other key markets, like LA, Miami, and even APAC.