Who may actually benefit from the current crisis?

A new world record was set this weekend by US rapper Travis Scott with his concert appearance in the game Fortnite. An incredible 12.3 million viewers watched the live show of the superstar at night (full video here).

The gamification of the entertainment industry is in full swing. Instead of entertaining thousands of stadium spectators with extreme technical effort for the acoustics, we are in the early stages of a paradigm shift. After DJ Marshmello gave a live concert in the game Fortnite at the beginning of 2019, the hip US rapper Travis Scott followed.

In a mixture of virtual reality, show and presentation of new songs, the previous record of almost 11 million viewers of Marshmello was exceeded. The event, which is scheduled over 3 days, is complemented by the possibility to purchase gadgets for the game, so-called skins. A lottery to solve tasks is of course not missing. At the same time Travis Scott managed to catapult several of his old hits back under the streaming top 20 at Spotify. His new hit “THE SCOTTS” of course landed on place #1 (link here) .

The American software company Epic Games is behind the coup.

Talks are currently underway for a further financing round of USD 1 billion. The valuation of Epic should then be around USD 15 billion. In 2012 the Chinese entertainment group Tencent acquired 40% of Epic for USD 330 million. Later, private equity investors such as KKR and Kleiner Perkins (see also our investment Inkitt), the Esports veteran club around Michael Jordan (via aXiomatic) and Disney joined in (more here).

Although a lot of people are still following the TV shows of traditional channels like RTL or ProSiebenSAT1, the decline in viewers will accelerate after the crisis.

From the Travis Scott Show many elements can be derived for future entertainment. Health policy and ecological aspects could come to the fore. Instead of accepting long journeys by car or plane and the accumulation of crowds of people, virtual concerts offer a completely new platform for daily entertainment. With people’s new need for security, risk events will be avoided. At the same time, the human being remains a social being for whom social interaction is vital. The acquisition of the chat app Houseparty by Epic Games should also be seen in this direction. The current crisis has led to this app becoming particularly popular among GenZ users. The current 50 million users make the growth of listed providers like Zoom or Teamviewer look out of date.

Although there are successful European game developers like Ubisoft or THQ Nordic, the major marketing trends are set in the USA or Asia. Streaming providers such as Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Twitch and YouTube are not European. Voice / chat supplementary offers for streaming such as Discord are also not located in Europe. With interesting special solutions such as Voicemod, it is only a matter of time before they are bought up by American or Asian companies strike.

The combination of content, gaming and B2C product marketing is facing a paradigm shift. The advertising war between Nike and Adidas is an excellent example of this. Together with superstar Michael Jordan, Nike has managed to convey a sense of value to GenZ. As a matter of fact Travis Scott wore his sneaker edition Jordan 1 Retro High Travis Scott at the Fortnite Event in the Skin. Brilliant was also the combination at the diving scene of the #1 hit “Highest in The Room” and the new sneaker Jordan 6 Retro Travis Scott. Nike already released several special editions, e.g. with the luxury label Dior or now also with Travis Scott. This kind of marketing strengthens customer loyalty to the next consumer generation. Sneaker prices worth the price of tailor-made suits arouse desires.

From today’s point of view, the winners are US American and Asian BigTech groups as well as B2C suppliers who actively accompany and adapt to the change in distribution channels. There are no serious German players in the running, although the private equity investor KKR, for example, has announced ambitions by entering the content supplier Tele München.

Mato M. Krahl


Smartify Venture Capital Investments