With Multiplayer, Mic seeks gamer audience
Mic is leveling up its video game coverage. On Wednesday, the millennial publisher launched a gaming vertical called Multiplayer, part of a plan to branch out to new content areas with a $21 million round it just raised. Multiplayer launched with a staff of four, plus seven outside contributors, as well as access to Mic’s video and events teams.
Gaming is a far cry from the politics and national affairs coverage that formed the core of Mic when it was founded in 2011 as PolicyMic. But news is hard to monetize — many advertisers avoid it like the plague — and gaming, like other verticals Mic has been expanding into, like personal finance, are far more ad-friendly.
“If you’d asked me a year ago, ‘What are the most important things for Mic?’ I’m not sure gaming would have been high on my list,” said Cory Haik, publisher of Mic. “We thought, ‘It’s worth a try.'”
But it’s also a huge part of of its audience. Mic has covered gaming in earnest for less than a year, but gaming drew more than 6 million readers in March, compared with 17 million that came to Mic’s owned and operated sites in March, per comScore.
In addition to established gamer publications, Mic joins other general-interest and other venture-backed publishers that are covering gaming as part of their pop culture coverage. “There is the old guard (IGN and GameSpot) and the new game coverage by media who is covering a variety of cultural/pop topics and are increasingly making gaming part of it,” said Dario Raciti, the U.S. director of Zero Code, the gaming group inside media agency OMD. “We see everyone from The New York Times to Vice and Forbes starting to cover games.”
Unlike a lot of Mic’s other verticals, like feminist-focused The Slay and Strut, on beauty, which is designed for social media, Multiplayer is search-driven. Coverage ranges from service stories like “‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ Patch Notes,” which explain software updates to popular games; to “‘Mass Effect: Andromeda – Making an Impression’ How to beat remnant sub-boss.”
Those stories will be complemented by reported features, like this piece about Overwatch players fleeing the toxic troll culture.
Mic started writing about gaming in part as a way to tie articles to big media events, like the launches of highly anticipated games. The stories exceeded Mic’s traffic expectations, so it assigned two tech reporters to cover video games full time and began adding staff to cover gaming more regularly.
Multiplayer is designed more for game-related search than Facebook. Haik said Mic’s gaming content has also performed above expectations on other platforms like Apple News and YouTube, where tutorials, unboxing videos and other tricks bring in new audiences. She expects the vertical to also appeal to new kinds of advertisers, but wouldn’t specify which ones.
Lack of events revenue squeezes B2B media, forcing virtual volume — and innovation
Advertising, subscriptions and commerce have begun to recover. But events have not, and B2B media companies are feeling the squeeze.
TikTok’s Blake Chandlee on working with U.S. brands despite conflict with the White House
Blake Chandlee, TikTok's vp of global business solutions, downplays any compromising ties between the company and its country of origin.
‘That innovation budget has gone’: Publishers adapt to thwarted branded content studio growth
Publisher branded content studios — once thought of as the silver bullet for depleting display ad sales —are facing sharp declines.
SponsoredPublishers: Assessing risk and ensuring payments in times of crisis
As the industry navigates the continued impacts of COVID-19, here’s the questions publishers should ask their programmatic partners or ad management providers to protect themselves from clawbacks and lost revenue.
Member ExclusiveFinance is the new marketing: Why some ad tech companies are paying publishers early
Showing off a flush balance sheet could replace hiring the fancy yacht at Cannes as an ad tech marketing tactic.
‘Off the field business’: Sports is still shaky but sports business publications see a lucrative play
The business of sports has been turned upside down and a number of media companies are racing to capitalize on the opportunity.