Video games are set to overtake podcasts and movies as the number one market for advertisers to focus on in 2023, according to an executive at adtech startup Hawk.

Shanil Chande, commercial director UK at Hawk, made the prediction in a recent podcast from research and analytics firm GlobalData.

He said that the pandemic had changed the game for advertisers. Hawk saw an explosion of audio-based entertainment and home streaming as people attempted to escape lockdown monotony.

As social restrictions eased, advertisers refocused on out-of-home entertainment, leveraging new big data tools.

However, now things are about to shift again. Chande told GlobalData analyst Emma Taylor that video games will become a massive opportunity for adtech firms in 2023.

“In-game is probably going to experience the biggest growth in 2023 in terms of a global market,” Chande said.

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“There are more people that play games now than go to cinemas or even listen to audio streaming platforms. So the market itself is absolutely huge. We’re at a point now where in-game and gaming isn’t just confined to the stereotype of 18-year-old boys locked in their bedroom. It’s actually really diverse across all different demographics – so you can access new audiences in new ways. The opportunity is absolutely there.”

Chande added that video games have enabled adtech firms to do things like putting up digital ads around football pitches in football games; integrating the ads into the in-game experience.

“It’s a really, really exciting and really unobtrusive way to engage with users who are spending a lot of time in these environments,” he said.

There are signs that some big companies have already taken note. Netflix has, for instance, looked into starting a video game studio of its own. GlobalData analysts have interpreted the move as a sign that the line between streaming and video games will blur further in the future.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publication