Two leading online poker rooms, PKR and Partypoker, have added in-game advertising to their play-money operations in an attempt to generate a new source of revenue to boost sagging earnings.
Simon Prodger, marketing director at PKR, has stated that in-game advertising is something that more operations may turn to, not only to support the cost of play money tables but also to turn them into profitable revenue sources.
“Naturally, it allows us to provide free gaming in perpetuity to players who don’t make a deposit,” Prodger said.
PKR’s poker room is capitalizing on the popularity of its three-dimensional interface by offering short 15 to 30 second commercials between hands in addition to more environmental advertising spread throughout the gameplay area. To accomplish this task, the company has teamed up with IGA Worldwide, a company that specializes in in-game advertising, to offer the ads within its platform.
Soon after PKR unveiled its plan to insert advertising into its platform, PartyGaming, still looking to recover from last October’s 60-percent stock drop following the midnight railroading of the UIGEA through the U.S. Senate, announced that ads would begin appearing across its U.S. facing operation.
PartyPoker, the company’s poker client, has partnered with Internet advertising firm Traffic Marketplace in order to introduce a variety of ads within the gaming interface itself. This choice should come as little surprise, as areas in online poker interfaces as wide-ranging as the table felts to dealer apparel provide opportunities for ad space.
Both companies hope to target ads to the unique population of online poker players. IGA Worldwide, for example, provides advertising for companies such as Red Bull, Burger King, and FHM--all of which cater to poker’s traditional demographic of affluent, predominantly male Internet users. Since this demographic is often the greatest in terms of purchasing power, both companies feel confident about the future of the operation.
Although the companies are unsure as to how far the advertising operation will extend, neither has extended these in-game advertising efforts to their European cash tables or any of their sponsored tournaments.
Prodger justified this decision.
“There is an argument that people who pay to use a product deserve a premium service, and we don’t want to provide any distractions when people are actually playing for money,” he said.