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Ubisoft buys Digital Kids and lots of Air Time on MTV Networks

ubisoft mtvnMTV Networks (Viacom) may own game developer Harmonix, and they may be working with Electronic Arts on the heavily hyped Rock Band game, but those relationships won’t preclude MTVN from working with other game companies too. There’s no conflict, especially when it comes to advertising on their TV stations.

Monday, MTVN and rival game publisher Ubisoft struck a substantial promotional deal to advertise Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed title. Beginning November 7th, ads and even two minute "sneak peak" trailers of the game will run on Comedy Central and Spike. The game ads will be especially prominent during episodes of South Park (for which they’re buying an exclusive sponsorship) and on Spike’s The Ultimate Fighter. Both are programs matched well to Ubisoft’s game’s male 18-34 year old target audience. The Ultimate Fighter reality show, for example, averages more than 1.5m viewers a week and the 7 live UFC fights aired in 2007 averaged 869k viewers in those demographic categories. (stats via Hollywood Reporter)

Some of the air time may cost Ubisoft upwards of $250k per ad (prime time rates on the two networks are estimated to be in the $100k to $150k range for 30 second spots. The two minute slots could easily triple that) .

The ad onslaught is reported to be part of a more than $10m marketing blitz that also includes contests, parties and other promotions. The effort is incredibly similar, in some ways, to the promotional efforts that wrap around movie premiers. Given the convergence and overlap of gaming and movie franchises – that the industries are influencing each other in marketing is probably not a surprise.


Ubisoft Acquires Digital Kids
In other Ubisoft news, Monday the company also announced they’d reached a deal to acquire Japanese video game studio Digital Kids which currently specializes in games for the Nintendo DS. The 11 year old studio has a staff of about 20. The deal is expected to close in the company’s fiscal 3rd quarter.


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