Case Study

Blasting Through to Nerd Stardom

ManiaTV Turns Video-Game Enthusiast Into Host

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The Creators: Rob Talbert is the executive producer and host of ManiaTV's video game show "Arcade." As the co-VP of programming at ManiaTV, Stefan Goldby works closely on the show. Mr. Talbert has been a video game fanatic since he scored his first Nintendo system at age four. "Every Christmas since then I have upgraded to the next one and have been playing all the time. I am a huge fan of video games and this was an opportunity to express that." Mr. Talbert joined ManiaTV in 2005 as an intern and worked his way up to show host based on his knowledge and insight into the world of video games. Mr. Goldby has been with ManiaTV since launch in 2004 and oversees the Web network's programming.

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The Distributors: Web video network ManiaTV produces and distributes online channel "Arcade," which runs on ManiaTV, YouTube, iTunes, Yahoo, AOL and on video widgets embedded on other sites and blogs. The "Arcade" network attracts about 1.7 million unique visitors each month, with the average visitor watching more than three streams.

The Sponsors: "Arcade" is one of the marquee channels on the ManiaTV lineup and has been successful in attracting a range of advertisers. Recent sponsors include Doritos, Wrigley,, Versus TV Network and Sony Pictures. Arcade has also inked deals with Dell, Nintendo, AT&T, Sprint, Atari, Rockstar, Guitar Hero and other brands. ManiaTV recently laid off 20 employees, representing more than one-quarter of its staff, but has said that "Arcade" remains one of its top performing channels and regularly attracts sponsors.

The Content: As a Web channel, "Arcade" releases fresh segments of its various shows daily. Those shows under the "Arcade" umbrella include "Video Game Report," "Grudge Match" and "War Room." Mr. Talbert helms most of the shows and is often joined by Global Gaming League talent, as well as reporters who cover the gaming business, such as Associated Press' Derek Lang, Variety's Ben Fritz and the Los Angeles Times' Alex Pham. Topics covered include the latest games, they're worth buying, and important gaming news. "We want to keep the audience informed in gaming with what's going on. It's for gamers and by gamers," Mr. Talbert said.

The Backstory: "Arcade" began as a two-minute segment two years ago that lived within other shows on ManiaTV. Based on sponsors' growing interest in "Arcade," the producers expanded into it a 60-minute stand-alone show. Since then, the producers split the show into smaller daily segments to fit the snack-size appetite of Web users. Those segments are released under the "Arcade" network on ManiaTV. "We started seeing people watching multiple episodes of the individual segments," Mr. Goldby explained. "And that was the seed of the idea that this should be our gaming network and would allow the audience to experience new segments every day."

Endgame: Mr. Talbert said he wants the show to be the best Internet gaming show, but he is open to TV possibilities too. "I am on the Internet all day every day and it's fun to have a segment you can watch three minutes of during the day, but I would also love to move on to television." Mr. Goldby said his goal is to secure distribution deals for the show with video gaming sites that don't currently offer video or TV reports.