Established video game companies and entertainment giants are eyeing the social networking and mobile platforms as a source of future growth. For success, the big guys need to apply the secret ingredients in different proportions.
How much should they invest in these areas, and how should they do it? Which kinds of partners should they recruit? Which business models are the best? Who has made the transition already? What's the right mix of social networking, marketing, analytical measurement, advertising and web design ingredients they should apply?
Roy Bahat is now President of IGN Entertainment. He joined IGN Entertainment as General Manager in 2007, previously serving on News Corporation's business development team in New York. Prior to News Corp., Roy held various roles in the public sector, both in the Office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and at New York's 2012 Olympic Bid. He previously worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Roy graduated from Harvard College and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
Michael Chang is responsible for Greystripe's market vision and execution. He was most recently at Incubic Venture Capital and was responsible for investments in Internet and software companies. It was at Incubic that Michael and Andy conceived of the ad-supported mobile business model. Michael has an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and has held engineering and marketing product management roles at SAN pioneer Gadzoox Networks. Michael has a BS in EE from Carnegie Mellon University.
Lisa Marino is the Chief Revenue Officer for RockYou, overseeing all business functions and leading all brand and ad sales initiatives for the company. Prior to this role she served as RockYou's Vice President of sales where she created and led a team which generated more than $6 million during its first year. Prior to joining the RockYou executive team, Marino was the National Sales Manager for eBay Motors, calling on major automotive original equipment manufacturers as well as their franchise dealers.
Marino co-founded Cima Systems, a leading fixed operations customer relationship management provider for auto dealers. She began her career in Silicon Valley as a technology mergers and acquisitions investment banker for Montgomery Securities. Marino is a thought leader in social media marketing and has spoken at leading conferences and events including, OMMA, iMedia Summit and Digital Hollywood.
She holds an Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University's School of Business and a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Alex St. John
Alex St. John leads all product strategy, design, development and operations at hi5. Previously, he was CEO and co-founder of WildTangent Inc., the world's largest privately held game network with over 30 million monthly unique visitors. During his tenure, WildTangent developed a unique and highly successful micro-currency based economy that blended ecommerce and advertiser sponsored play of premium content. Alex also pioneered technology for online game publishing, resulting in an extensive portfolio of rich media delivery and micro-currency based monetization patents.
Prior to founding WildTangent, Alex was responsible for Microsoft's multimedia strategy. He was one of the principal creators of Microsoft's DirectX technology, which became the foundation for all Windows multimedia applications, 3D graphics, media players, and casual multiplayer games, as well as thousands of PC and Xbox games.
Several books have been written about St. John's exploits at Microsoft including Renegades of the Empire by Michael Drummond, Opening the Xbox by Dean Takahashi, and Masters of Doom by David Kushner.
Alex was awarded an honorary degree in Real-Time Interactive Simulation from the DigiPen Institute of Technology for his extensive contributions to innovative game technology and the school's curriculum.
Alex also advises the University of Washington on ways to enhance its technical degree programs and serves as an EIR advisor to the Tech Transfer department.
Jon Vlassopulos holds the dual roles of CEO of Moderati and GM, North America for Bellrock Media, Moderati's parent company. He oversees the company's initiatives in branded entertainment and digital entertainment services, as well as its mobile personalization business. In this position, Jon has overseen the development of several successful branded entertainment projects, with successes such as the Virtual Zippo Lighter iPhone App, which has had over 3 million downloads thus far, and A&E's Paranormal State iPhone App, which is the most interactive TV application, with more than 50% of people watching the show also downloading the app.
He has seen similar success at Bellrock with projects under way with big-name brands such as Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Myzo and the original programming project, "24 Hours at Sundance", a real-time, online reality show competition broadcast live from the Sundance Film Festival with Ashton Kutcher, which received over one million views.
Jon was most recently Senior Vice President, Digital Media & Branded Entertainment for Endemol, the global leader in entertainment programming. He was responsible for building Endemol's worldwide digital business and growing the company into new areas such as casual gaming and branded entertainment.
He also revolutionized the interactive TV market in the U.S. with his work on hit shows like "Deal or No Deal."
Prior to that, he served as Senior Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at AT&T Wireless, launching major media brands on AT&T services including mMode. While at the carrier, he directed the launch of the first wireless music service, and ran major mobile marketing campaigns with brands like McDonalds and Kelloggs.
His background also includes multiple executive positions at Bertelsmann in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Jon received his undergraduate degree from Durham University in Chinese, Economics and Korean. He serves on the board of NATPE, the National Association of Television Program Executives.
Executives from social gaming companies debate the effectiveness of using existing intellectual properties to promote games in order to take them viral on the Internet. Hi5'S Alex St. John argues big brand names offer little leverage in the market.