New ways to experience and to interact with livestreams

Tatiana Santoriniou, Director of Marketing and Administration for Genvid Technologies Europe

Deliver more personalized and immersive livestreams – that´s the goal for Genvid Technologies. Tatiana Santoriniou, Director of Marketing and Administration for Genvid Technologies Europe gives some insights, how developers and publishers can utilize Genvid´s technology and what it is capable off. Tatiana has several years of experience in the gaming industry, prior to Genvid she was the Head of Global Development Events for Wargaming and Director of the 4C conference.

The importance of video content for the gaming industry is bigger than ever. We are not only talking about trailers from publishers, video content is everywhere now - from game reviews and Let’s Plays to live streams, big broadcasts of live events and esport tournaments. With Genvid you are aiming to transform the live streams and make it more personalized, interactive and immersive for the audience. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Genvid Technologies was founded about four years ago by game industry veterans coming from Square Enix, Ubisoft and AMD. In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of spectators across all media platforms. We believe that viewers love live events, love communal experiences and love when their participation matters. Our goal is to power this next generation of viewing experiences across gaming, sports and unscripted/reality TV by unlocking and creating new opportunities for developers. Until now, the focus in the gaming industry has been placed on the players or the streamers, leaving the spectators as a huge underserved market.

Genvid’s unique, patented technology allows for livestream viewers to actively participate in, and even affect the outcome of the games they’re watching. This interactivity can take many forms, with developers offering viewers a wide range of enhanced engagement options such as additional layers of game and player data, the ability to cheer for players and teams in dramatic new ways, and more. This blurring of the line between the players and viewers means that everyone experiencing the game is an active participant and can have an impact.

What is the biggest challenge the company faces?

Our primary challenge is one of awareness: our technology is new and revolutionary, and it’s been our experience that once a developer understands the potential, they’re eager to utilize it. We spent the first two-plus years building the tech, and have only recently undertaken significant marketing and PR efforts. Many game studios and publishers are still just learning that interactive livestreaming is not only possible, but also relatively straightforward to integrate into their games. This process involves not only informing the developers about the possibilities but also guiding them throughout the various solutions they have available for them and supporting them in implementing the right solutions for their products. So we’re working to raise awareness and guide developers in creating new ways to engage their existing audience (players) and also include the new audience (viewers).

With your technology, you give a better access for advertisers at the live streams. What is this about, what can you offer in those terms?

As I mentioned there are many different ways of adding interactivity to livestreams, and this includes opportunities for studios and publishers to monetize the viewers of their games for the first time. Typically, ads are shown periodically as commercial breaks during livestreams, with the streamer and the streaming platform splitting that revenue. Our technology enables new forms of advertising and branded sponsorships that can be micro-targeted, personalized, and delivered via the stream overlay, so they can appear to be IN the game yet are only visible to viewers, not players.

Last year you opened a new office in Berlin. What are your goals with the location and why did you choose to come to Berlin?

Genvid has been growing rapidly over the last few years, from a handful of founding employees to a workforce of almost 70 amazing, diverse people in offices located in New York, Montreal, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and now Berlin. As part of our growth, it was vital for us to have a representation in Europe for more immediate connections to, and support of, European businesses. After conducting extensive research of numerous European cities, we discovered that Berlin had become a vital hub in the gaming industry. Dozens of major AAA studios and publishers, as well as promising indie developers, have offices in Berlin and the industry is booming. At the same time, Berlin offers a multicultural living and working environment and great support from the government for new businesses. So it was quite an easy choice for us. Our team in Berlin consists of marketing and developer relations veterans charged with increasing awareness of interactive streaming, as well as very experienced engineers who provide support to developers throughout the process of implementing our technology. This ranges from feedback and insights related to designing and developing games with interactive livestreams in mind, all the way to support and assistance in the deployment of the live experience.

Where do you see the future of Genvid? Are there plans to make your technology somehow accessible for genres next to gaming, for example live sport events or digital conventions?

Hundreds of millions of people watch games today, and while Genvid has primarily focused on the gaming industry so far, the potential of interactive livestreaming extends to many other markets, including live sports and reality TV - billions watch those shows. Virtually any live, digital viewing experience can be enhanced significantly through interactivity, giving each viewer their preferred level of interaction with the content they are consuming. We’re preparing to enter additional markets soon, and are excited to be pioneering the next generation of interactive media.

Thank you for the interview Tatiana!