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Nintendo fuels rebound in game industry TV ad spend in February Nintendo fuels rebound in game industry TV ad spend in February
Join Transform 2021 for the most important themes in enterprise AI & Data. Learn more. After a relatively quiet January, video game brands upped... Nintendo fuels rebound in game industry TV ad spend in February


Join Transform 2021 for the most important themes in enterprise AI & Data. Learn more.


After a relatively quiet January, video game brands upped their TV ad budgets in February by 34%, to a total of $16.6 million. Not only did Nintendo account for 81.3% of that outlay, it had 74.1% of the total airings. Overall, 15 brands aired 41 spots 4,497 times, generating 682.6 million TV ad impressions.

GamesBeat has partnered with iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution platform, to bring you a monthly report on how gaming brands are spending. The results below are for the top five gaming-industry brands in February, ranked by estimated national TV ad spend.

Nintendo spent an estimated total of $13.5 million airing 21 commercials 3,334 times, and 20% of its budget went to a single airing during the Super Bowl Kickoff Show. “Cat Prints: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury” was the ad with the highest estimated outlay, $4 million. According to an iSpot Ace Metrix survey, viewers thought this spot was “nostalgic” and “wholesome,” and it performed above the norm across all industries for multiple aspects, including likeability, watchability, desire and relevance. One survey respondent stated that it was “very cute and shows a good representation of family time,” while another said it “definitely showed Nintendo and Mario games in a good way.” Top programming by spend for Nintendo overall included the Super Bowl Kickoff Show, SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Loud House; top networks included Nick, CBS, and Cartoon Network.

At No. 2: PlayStation, with an estimated outlay of $1.9 million on three spots that ran 359 times, resulting in 96.9 million TV ad impressions. “Explorers,” promoting the PS5, had the biggest spend, an estimated $1.6 million. According to Ace Metrix, this commercial scored above average across all industries for multiple aspects, including watchability, likeability, and communication. Viewers expressed “curiosity” when asked about the emotions the spot evoked, and 30% of survey respondents considered the visual scenes the best part. Overall, the NBA, college basketball, and SportsCenter were the top programming by estimated spend, while top networks included ESPN, Adult Swim, and ESPN2.

Third place goes to HandyGames, which spent an estimated $646,833 airing one spot, “Explore Bikini Bottom,” 76 times, generating 12.3 million TV ad impressions. Nick and Nick Toons were the two networks that HandyGames spent on, and top programming included The Loud House, the movie Despicable Me 2, and Alvinnn!!! and the Chipmunks.

GameFly takes fourth place with an estimated outlay of $361,776 on four ads that aired 631 times, resulting in 26 million TV ad impressions. The spot with the biggest budget (est. $202,796) was “54 & 77 Cents: Call of Duty: Cold War.” Top shows by spend included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Alvinnn!!! and the Chipmunks, and South Park, while top networks included Nick Toons, Comedy Central, and NBC Sports.

Rounding out the ranking is 704Games, with an estimated spend of $139,716. This brand aired a single spot, “Downloadable Content,” solely on Sundays during the month, and only during Winter Heat Series on NASCAR Heat 5 on MavTV.

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