Taking another step to stake out a position in the metaverse, iHeartMedia has partnered with gaming community and content platform Super League Gaming to offer advertising in virtual games and experiences. Under the deal, iHeart’s North American sales force will make Super League Gaming’s ad inventory and influencer network available to brands looking to gain entry to the metaverse. The companies will also work to develop and roll out iHeartLand, a virtual world for music fans across metaverse platforms. They will also collaborate on the distribution of Super League’s immersive new 3D and NPC (non-player character) ad units.
Super League will provide its knowledge on open metaverse gaming platforms such as Roblox and Minecraft, including exclusive analytics to help guide market plans and sales strategies for iHeartMedia advertising clients. Super League’s platform is deployed within more than 150 curated, brand-safe games in Roblox that reach more than 70 million monthly active players.
iHeartMedia sellers will have full access to Super League’s metaverse ad inventory and products that are brand friendly and kidSafe certified. Under terms of the agreement, creators and developers working with Super League will continue to have full control over the ads that appear in the environments they have built and grown, with iHeartMedia working to ramp up their monetization opportunities at an accelerated pace.
“As we develop and introduce our unique iHeart experiences in the metaverse this year, we’re thrilled to partner with Super League to create new and compelling ways to connect our brand partners to passionate fans in our virtual spaces and beyond,” Jessica Jerrick, Executive VP, Digital Distribution and Platform Partnerships for iHeartMedia said in a release. “Super League's expertise, coupled with their best-in-class ad tech and expansive inventory across Roblox games, puts them at the forefront of this exciting space and makes them an ideal partner for iHeartMedia’s new extensions in the metaverse.”
The partnership comes after iHeart announced in mid-January that it would create events and experiences for listeners and music fans on the online gaming platform Roblox.
“These are huge audiences, and when we see that, we sit up straight at iHeart and say, ‘What do we look like on a platform like that?'” Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group, told The Hollywood Reporter.Byrne compares the potential for metaverse advertising to the early days of podcast advertising and says the company hasn’t been this excited about digital media since it first jumped into podcasting.
“Generation Z does not distinguish between physical and digital worlds, moving fluidly between the two in their daily existence. iHeartMedia has been a defining brand at this very intersection, combining digital and physical content experiences that delight consumers and fans,” Matt Edelman, Chief Commercial Officer of Super League added. “It is awesome to be working alongside iHeart as they extend their brand into the metaverse and deepen their commitment to providing impactful solutions to the top advertisers on the planet.”