Wednesday Workshop – Monetising Digital Content

Posted on: Wednesday 03 July 2013 7:16pm by Jon Hancock


Producer/Contributor: Nicholas Lovell, Director, Gamesbrief
Blogged by: Jon Hancock


“Very interesting, eye-opening session, full of interesting statistics. I had no idea so much money could be made, potentially, from something which was theoretically a freebie. The speaker kept mentioning that he was short of time, so I guess we were getting the short version of his spiel, but nevertheless it gave me cause for much consideration.”

Rowland Lee, Composer

“Condensed but nevertheless rich content about how the app and game market works right now. It raised a lot of important questions about how to launch new IPs or increase the reach of your product. Very useful for start-ups and new brands as it gave lots of case studies and directions on how to monetise on F2P. Very up-to-date and interesting – definitely food for thought!”

Luciana Mazzocco,


Top takeaways:
1. People are comfortable paying for an app, but not before they know they like it.
2. Free is inevitable – but embrace it. To compete against them does not necessarily mean to charge for your product, it’s to make your free app better than theirs!
3. Move customers along the “curve of demand” … seek out true fans and give them something they will really value.
4. Start thinking average revenue per user, not average selling price.
5. To get the most revenue, you will need to offer products at 10x, 100x, 1000x the cost.
6. Build one-to-one relationships with your biggest fans, then help them spend lots of money on the things they really value.
7. Analytics help you understand your audience better so you can better target those who are likely to pay more.
8. Give everyone access to something and give some people access to something that will make them feel special.
9. Market ethically to kids.
10. There is a gap between parents/grandparents and children – children believe that there is value in virtual purchases, but parents may struggle with that. An example was given of a child who would only ask for physical presents from his family but would spend his pocket money on virtual things i.e. his grandmother would be happy to buy him a physical light sabre, but wouldn’t dream of buying him a virtual light sabre for his Star Wars game.

I heard Nicholas Lovell at last year’s Conference and he’s a fantastic speaker – engaging, clear, passionate. An Ex-banker, entrepreneur, writer and consultant, he helps people understand how to make money from Free. Subscribe to his Gamesbrief blog: for regular info on that.

So, the bare bones of a content-rich session (eloquently delivered I would like to say):
It is not true that free apps don’t make money, but the only way to make real money with a free app is to make a bloody good app – BETTER than a paid-for app! You’ll make more money that way than having a bad app costs.

Some raw, pretty assumption-blowing facts:
22 out of 30 current Top Grossing apps are free. (Read that again, slower. Yes, wow.) 2 apps in the top 5 are making a combined total of $2million a DAY! Candy Crush is making $25million a MONTH.

So how is this done? The internet has made it possible to share anything digital for a price approaching zero. It has also made it possible for creators to build one-to-one relationships with their biggest fans that will let them spend lots of money on the things they really value. So, find an audience. Figure out what they like. Give them great quality for free. Then, with those who feel a connection to the brand, help those customers spend money on what they want.

How can I make my app fun and rewarding to come back every day? Avoid stories and assets as a way of trying to retain people – as this will spiral production costs.

Designing Free-to-play games is much like bringing up kids – keep saying well done! Reward people instantly with something that has meaning for them (even if they come back every day). Stickers for kids is pretty universal. And develop a sense of progression and an “appointment mechanic” … create reasons for people to promise to come back to the game.

Simples! I’m off to make the new Candy Crush.

Nicholas has a new book out in October:

Event Reports

Jon Hancock, Series Producer – CBeebies

About the author

Jon Hancock

CBeebies, Series Producer

I have worked in BBC Children's for 13+ years, CBBC and CBeebies.  As Series Producer of 'Mr Bloom's Nursery', 2012 saw us undertake a massive series out on the road together with a live event that attracted 30,000+ visitors.  In this first half of 2013 I've been Series Producing the… Read more