When you need an example of a media company that owns some of the world’s top YouTube gaming channels, look no further than Omnia Media.
Launched in 2013 as a gaming MCN, the digital-first company now creates both original and sponsored content for millennial and Gen Z communities who are passionate about video games. Omnia boasts the largest global video network for gaming, and owns popular YouTube gaming channels like Wisecrack and BCC Trolling.
Across all its properties, Omnia Media has generated more than 30B total views over the last 365 days alone!
We sat down with Austin Long, VP of Partnerships and Strategy, and Josiah Seet, Strategic Partnerships Manager, to discuss the company’s winning video strategy and sponsored content campaigns.
Tubular Insights: What does your company’s business structure look like?
Austin Long: Our channels and talent services business works directly with creators, covering everything from esports to kids’ content to mobile games.
While we help these creators grow their networks, set up collaborations, protect content with Content ID claiming, and more, content distribution and scale is our priority. We take a strong stance in helping creators put their content up on any platform we can monetize, like Snapchat, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitter.
Our second business unit is our sales group that works mostly with endemic companies to help them engage with the 13-34 age group that doesn’t really watch TV anymore. Clients are usually traditional or mobile publishers, like Intel, Disney, and NetEase.
Our last business unit is our owned properties. These are owned and operated content IPs that we create in-house and distribute ourselves.
For example, we operate BCC, which is the largest Fortnite-inspired YouTube gaming community in the world. You can think of it as the SportsCenter of Fortnite; every day, it has community content from the last 24 hours and boasts over 10 million subscribers.
TI: Your company does a lot of sponsored content. How do you approach those partnerships?
Josiah Seet: Sponsored integrations in videos are a big deal to the gaming community, as they were some of the earliest adopters of branded content. How you do these integrations is important in terms of the creative and the placement.
A lot of people will call out really awkward sponsorships, so we need to use data to measure how well a sponsorship does outside typical brand KPIs.
For example, where do you place an integration that is the breakpoint where people are engaged enough that they won’t click off but not far enough in that they don’t care?
So for our main sponsored videos, we put a lot of effort into the creative so the video will do well and the ad will feel very natural, organic, and well-fitting for a gaming audience.
AL: For example, we started to realize BCC is a compilation YouTube gaming channel that’s not personality-driven.
But our gut told us when you see a commercial that has someone that people already know (like Shaquille O’Neal during an NBA commercial), that ad probably converts a lot better.
We started trying that on BCC, and in May, we partnered with Ali-A who is a really well-known Fortnite talent to host an ad — this landed in the top 10 sponsored gaming campaigns of May 2019.
Then we started to compare conversions on videos with talent to those not using talent and that’s what’s been helpful for us to gauge the overall brand conversions.
TI: How do you pick talent to work with on sponsored and original content?
AL: This business is relationship-driven, so primarily it’s who we can create compelling content with that also drives results.
In terms of identifying which talent, it’s usually people we feel have the right personality and who have a good life cycle.
We tend to focus on people who have more breadth and are on a path to building something bigger, since the churn of working with someone for a year without a payoff before moving to the next talent isn’t very productive.
Of course, talent also needs to be able to create content around multiple games (to avoid being tied to one IP) while not seeing a lot of drop-off in viewership. They also need to grow their communities and be flexible when it comes to brand safety requests.
JS: The really valuable talent have a superfan community.
There are some people that no matter what they do, viewers are so attached to their personality, they could film themselves playing with Legos and random games and people go crazy for them.
TI: How do you benchmark content performance for your advertisers and sponsoring partners?
AL: We don’t normally run performance-based campaigns such as cost per installs.
Instead, advertisers are either paying a flat budgeted fee for our services, or they’re booking on a CPM basis where they’re estimating the viewership correlated to the video content.
The V30 metric is important to us since most of our campaigns are on a monthly flight. In instances when we use a 7-day flight we work with the V7 metric and it helps us predict what viewership the talent and content are going to see so that we can more accurately put together campaigns.
TI: What’s your perspective on brand safety as it relates to your brand partners?
AL: We engage each of our partners on a case-by-case basis, taking into account their internal brand safety practices.
Half the brand partners we work with, usually the ones in the kids’ space, are very keen on maintaining certain processes for what’s okay and what isn’t.
In cases where we have clients who are super-specific with brand safety requirements, we’ll lean on our media operations team which combs through all the channels we have on a daily basis and makes sure we’re vetting channels prior to putting ads on them just to avoid any hiccups.
Given our core roster is under 600 channels, we have a more hands-on approach, unattached to scaled practices that are usually flawed.
We also have clients that are much more open to cursing or edgier content because they want to lean into that community, usually if they have an older-leaning product or they’re going after that demo.
In those cases, those brands are also specific about what they’re okay with and what they’re not.
TI: What are some of the biggest challenges in the gaming market?
AL: Gaming moves really fast, so five years ago it was a completely different space. Our competitive advantage is that we can lean on our wide range of creators to see how they’re transitioning their YouTube gaming channels to different formats.
Take Fortnite, for example. We were already “on it” in late 2017, which is when the game came out, and as such, we were able to identify talent that we wanted to work with.
Now that the game’s at critical mass we’re already well ahead and program the largest channels making content for it.
JS: From the outside, when you’re not informed about the data, it almost seems like gamers are pivoting to random games that are popular, but it’s not as random as you might think.
If you look at how different YouTube gaming channels evolve and program their content, they will hop on trends that are popular but there are segments of viewers who enjoy certain genres of games, and they will stay within that genre.
With our content data, we can see a lot of overlap between the people who watch BCC, for example, and what other types of gaming they like to consume (Call of Duty, etc.).
If we were to pivot, we could get some extra insight or a headstart on programming before anyone else because we could see that overlap in audience data.
TI: How do you determine if you’re going to do more videos and content with up-and-coming genres?
JS: We mix context and data to predict what we can actually program that’s one step ahead of the curve.
The first part is contextual. When Dota Auto Chess came to us with a campaign, your first response is, “Why not just run campaigns on channels that already do auto chess?” But there’s not that many of them.
So we have to figure out who is going to start creating content around auto chess who doesn’t normally create it.
For example, auto chess came from the MOBA communities like League of Legends, and because I was a big consumer of those types of games, I could see people in my community were really interested in auto chess although it seemed different.
From there, you would know as auto chess becomes more popular and gets more visibility which people will create more content.
The other part of this is data-driven. In terms of how we could use Tubular to get a head start on what channels might fit into a trend that might not be so obvious, we can look at audience overlap.
If I were to look at a League of Legends channel, there’s probably a lot of overlap with a big auto chess or team fight tactics channel.
From that, you can see maybe if this Legends talent uploads an auto chess video that might not be as weird as a fit, despite being a different game – because from a data point, you can see people are consuming this content already.
Did you know that Gaming receives the most-sponsored views across all genres on YouTube? Learn more about the opportunites for creators and brands in this emerging space in our market snapshot.