B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 month ago

Exploring LG Solutions for the eSports and Cinema Industries

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Movie multiplexes, restaurants and neighborhood cinemas took a massive hit during the pandemic.  

Searching for new revenue streams, these venues are leveraging the latest in display tech to attract lucrative esports events like tournaments and viewing parties.  

Heather Blair, senior account manager for esports and cinema solutions at LG Electronics, joins Shelby Skrhak to explore: 

- Building alliances between venues, communities and gamers

- The new revenue potential for restaurants and cinemas

- How LG’s “sexy” monitors create stunning esports arenas

- What Ingram Micro’s partners can do to move the needle 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's Imagine Next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next dot ingram micro dot com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. I'm your host, Shelby Scare talk at our guest today as Heather Blair, Senior account manager for E Sports and Venue Solutions at l G. Heather, welcome, Hi, nice to see you. Nice to me too, Absolutely well. Today we are talking about l G products in the sports and cinema venue solutions industries. So first, Heather, though, tell us about your role they're at LGE. I understand you've got a background in venues or send m Yes. So I came to l G to help out as a kind of a point person who's responsible for anything to do with the cinema community and E sports. And it was ironic that I've spent twelve years in cinema selling technology to the cinema community, and then four years or five years looking for an opportunity to find a path forward for cinemas to have a new revenue stream, and something told me that it might be smart to invite viewing parties, tournaments, practices, whatnot at your local cinema with the gaming and E sports community. So I just started coordinating an effort to bring some communication between the two worlds. I created an alliance called the Cinema E Sports Alliance Corporation or the c E A C where I interviewed a bunch of E sports and gaming companies and individuals, and then I invited East cinema companies to just talk and have a level of dialogue. And l G has been looking at these different industries as a potential market, and when...

...they go after a market, they want to delve down. They want to they want to know who all the players are. They want to make sure that there's somebody who has lengthy relationships because when it comes to products and technology, there maybe three, four, five, or multitude of companies that have similar technologies. And l G says, listen, we've probably have the best or close to the best in any technology that we're that we're in now, we just want to bring the people that are that have their relationships and bring them to the table. So they took a look at me and said, well, she's into markets that were pursuing so tada, Yeah, exactly. Maybe let's recap a little bit of the the challenges that uh cinemas are facing and you know why they need for that increased revenue stream. I mean, you know, we know that the pandemic really took a toll on a lot of large independent are large chains let alone, you know, the independent ones that really struggled to they couldn't have people, you know, in house. How do you you know, tackle that? I guess if you can just kind of give us a little state of the union of of the challenges that cinemas were facing, that's the state of the union, is exactly right. So this relationship that the that the cinema has with the film studio is one that studio makes a movie, they pay to make it, they pay to market it, and the cinema sell the tickets to attend the movie and the concession. So it's a business model that's been since the time beginning of time with the relationship and it's been wrought with some challenges when the pandemic hit. That put a huge, big, huge wake between the cinemas and the studios because the studios still needed to get their movies out into the market, so they all started looking at streaming platforms. I started launching their movies on either their own platform or a Netflix or fill in the blank whatever streaming companies were out there. And there's been a lot of acquisitions and a lot of merging and whatnot, but right now everybody's got a streaming platform that they can play their content on. That hurt a lot. Well, then they tried different models. They tried to do day and date, which means they're going to launch a movie out in a cinema at the same time they launched it on...

...a streaming platform. That also hurt her ticket sales. So there's been a lot of movement back and forth. So the cinemas have to be intelligent and and be more than just a retail place for the movies. They've got to really understand their community. And it's something that I've been working on really hard of talking to the cinema saying, hey, listen, your community means your schools in the area, your daycare centers in the area, your hospitals in the area. Those are people in your community. What I think sounds like a an intelligent place for the cinemas to look at is to talk to their local schools, find out if they have sports teams, leagues, clubs, programs, and even a lab, and say, why don't you come over here and have your practices, Why don't you come over here and have your watch parties. So this is like a dialogue I've been working. I think it's like a triangle, and an E sports community also feels like, hey, we have a location, we've got a team, we've got an order, we've got a league. How do we make sure that we are talking to our customers of tomorrow. Let's look at the education sector. The education sector is looking at saying we've got students who are needing to learn about various things for their future, for their careers. Animation that might be interesting, production that could be interesting, steam, science, technology, you know, engineering, art, math, all of those things are super important for their future. So they're finding this nice little tie in with the E sports and gaming where they can teach these kids their ways for their future. So I'm just trying to tie them all up into this nice little bow by leaning on l G. Is this great you know, amazingly multicultural brand who provides you know, obviously the most sexy monitors, the most sexy displays and put them out there to this to these communities and and and tie it all up. Yeah, So this idea of a esports arena, well, you mentioned the labs, the education labs, so you know they are are there's a growing...

...movement towards you know, creating these sports arenas or you know, whether it's a small scale thing or you know, pretty big display kind of atmosphere there. But where does l G play in that space? Like you mentioned, you know, sexy monitors and displays. I guess if you can just kind of highlight a little bit of the products that really kind of headline within the e sports industry. Well, what I'm finding is the cinemas right now, and why I think this is interesting for them is that they already have a lot of display signage on their walls. And just recently I went to go visit some friends of mine that that are the fifth largest chain in North America, and I didn't even tell them why I was coming their friends and they have bought from me before, so their prior customers, and I said, I'm gonna talk about l G, but I don't really. Just let me come and I'll explain why. As we're sitting there in their in their bar, there was LG displays over the bar, there was LG displays in the in the concession areas. So they already work with us. So we're saying to them, you can have E sports programming, you can play content on those walls. You don't even even have to have a dedicated space. Ideally, that's what we'd like. Ideally we want to bring them Hurts monitors that the new Ultra Gear which is has the fast reframe rate. We'd like to put our beautiful displays, the super thin led walls. All that stuff is perfect because of the picture and a picture, the stuff that they can do that they can't do right now on a regular projector screen. So we're looking at these items that we have the Ultra Gear monitor. That's kind of the hot thing right now that every gamer wants. And when I talk to the sport orcs, the belong gamings, the misfits, the nerd streets, the fill in the blanks, the skill shots, they all want monitors. They need these, So that's kind of like the nice little cool thing that we have. But the displays for the walls, video walls. To go see...

...a company called Exposure a week ago and they have a wall right now is super thick bevil and you could see lines through and they're like they look at it makes someone a cringe, just like having a bad head haircut. Hate it. So I'm like, we want to replace that stuff for them. So we're hoping that these items that we have are the perfect fit for these labs and nice little turnkey kit that hopefully you guys are providing the ancillary other stuff that aren't the display walls or the monitors right well, And that's that's the thing is that you know, you to talk to cinemas and theaters and and get them to commit to, you know, updating their equipment when they are facing some of these, uh, these challenges with a dwindling market. Yeah, that makes absolute sense to you know, let's bring one of the hottest and a lot of more. I don't know if you're seen in the trades. The biggest cinema chain in the world is Regal and they filed bankruptcy and everybody has something to say about it. But what's going to end up happening is they'll sell off this excess, you know, locations that weren't performing well. And you know, with with any look, some of these companies, like I said, like the sport companies that are looking to expand their footprint are going to look for this opportunity. So yeah, again we're hoping that we can help that sadness that's happening right now. And you know either right, so, you know on the podcast, we've talked about various E sports topics, especially outfitting and arena and the sports arena. You know, we know that that is a very in demand for everything from you know, lower education, higher education to companies. So with that, I wonder if we can go through some of the specific LG technology that's really standing out. I mean, you know, we know that there's the those high end oh Lad displays. I think of that as kind of you know, some of the premium. But I wonder if you can share a little bit of a maybe good better best approach to some of the of what LGE offers. Okay,...

...so in our in our little good better best list, what's being requested right now a lot when they're super large displays are eighty six inch. Good would be the U R six forty and that is h d M WiFi. The better would be the U R L three J series, and then the best would be the U H five So that has that these are all web os enabled. Same thing goes for our seventy displays. The good would be the U R six forty. Again, the better would be the U F the U five F and then the best would be the U L three J. So those are our super large displays, and that seems to be when we're outfitting up for a big arena, some of these bigger walls, some of the more intimate labs maybe a little bit smaller. We have some projectors that are being requested right now, so we have the good would be the b U sixty P s T, The better would be the BU fifty N S T, and the best would be HU five LS. Okay, well, I wonder if we can we can break those down then, so what is the baseline then, you know, for all of these good, better, best options, what can we count on? We don't have to go into the specific numbers, but you know, I wonder if you can just speak to when you are talking to two companies that are trying to put together a lab or you know, practice space, whatever the case may be. What are they saying, what do they need? Well, right now, what seems to be in the world that I'm talking to. They're looking for either places that gamers are sitting down and playing, So we're going to talk to about their monitors. I'm finding a lot of success with restaurants that have an esport component. There's been a little bit of of of growth. Have actually been talking to quite a few of them. So they're having a dining area, they'll have a gamer stations where there are several gamers facing each other and some sort of interesting configuration. So we'll look at the monitors first. Then we're gonna look for the display areas potentially in the hallway, sometimes displays...

...above. It's even though there's a bunch of different brands doing it, they all kind of a similar style. Places where people are just sitting as spectators viewing. Sometimes they're just looking for, like I said, they need these hot monitors when they're actually in gameplay. And then sometimes they're wanting to have a larger space so that a bunch of people can all be there while they're competing and doing e sports. So that's right now kind of I would say the hottest thing over and above cinemas is having these restaurants that have these additional E sports and gaming centers in them. That's interesting. Yeah, I hadn't. I hadn't seen that. Yeah, again, another another revenue avenue, because again we don't have to tell this audience how hot the sports is and what type of revenue potential there is there there there's a cool, sexy LG product that that I think is cool for for the sports and gaming world, and I talk about it a lot when I meet these clients. Is our transparent? Oh lad if you've heard of that or seen that. So it's a clear glass old where you can see the media through the glass. And when some of these e sport companies like one in for example, is Battle and Brew. They're based in Atlanta. They currently have a location. Their location is the destination. It's been around for twelve years, has a super following. People come, they play card games, they have comedy night, they've got trivia night, all these great things going on. So folks come from a problem about a twenty mile radius to that location, Well, they're now moving to the battery. For them to move to the battery, which is a big outdoor area where the braves play, they know that they're competing for the attention of all the other entertainment that's going on in that facility. So what we're trying to do is help them by looking at the facility saying, hey, maybe if we do these transparent olad either on your windows or in your doors, when people are molling around the battery, they actually see what's going on inside with the media that's going on through the through the transparent OHL it. So it's kind of something new and sexy. And you know, me is a person who's looking at LG for the first time working for...

...them, is one of those things that I saw that really stood out for me, going this is this is this is hot? Yeah? Well okay, so so I understand is this This is a projector based right, I mean, this is an actual The stuff comes from from the under underneath of the products, so it kind of comes upwards. So there's like a base that it's at. The LG has uh doors in our in our big downtown and it's so neat to see it. It's just a unique way to look at media through through an O lad. Well, yeah, if the display is interesting, let alone the content that is on that display exactly. Yeah, that that seems like a win win. It's gonna drive the eyeballs. It's gonna make people stop and come and take a look. Um if they can play like maybe competition is going on and that can play inside the glass to be kind of neat and something different. You know. I guess you can sometimes say, well, this display looks like that one. You know, they look similar in our competitor. We always want to say we're better. Uh, this is really sexy. Yeah. Yeah, Well, if if we can drill down a little bit for the Ingram micro partners and resellers that that may be listening and thinking, okay, well, where does the opportunity lie for me? What would you say to them? I would say that depending on where they're at, I would highly recommend if they are talking to any schools or any cinemas, I think they'll find a hot interests will be somebody who's gonna take that call and say I'm looking the cinemas. Probably the thing that would be make your relationship with them, is some sort of financing program for them. That is where you're going to shine if you can offer that. I don't know how you currently work, but it would help the cinemas tremendously to know that somebody's going to give them some sort of financing program that will little move the needle. Yeah, that is a difference maker, and that's something that the Ingram micro has helped a lot of businesses with because, yeah, we've we've shifted to kind of a payment society, you...

...know, pay as you go society, and we we don't want to buy the whole the whole cheeseburger up frout. We want to be able to you know, pay as we eat. So yeah, and I think that that would be a healthy move for your organization to give them some uh like toe in the water, ease their way in and let them feel comfortable and then help them grow. Yeah, exactly, they're so hungry. There's a lot a lot there. Well, as we do start to wrap up our our conversation today, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? And that's broad by design, Uh, it can be within this space, and this is a pretty pretty fascinating space. So you know, by three, where will we be. I'm saying the fastest refresh rates available number one, that's just where everybody's looking at, and like the thinnest displays possible. They want that, but they want also that has strengths so that if people throw stuff at it. People are very emotional in the sports, right, no tender brother and so I've heard that a lot, like and then what's your warranty? So I know that as our partnership with you guys, I think that's also pretty critical that we you know, get fastest, skinniest and the you know, most robust warranty program that we can because stuff does unfortunately break, yes from from passion, not not frustration, product technology, but just get wet things, get whatever. You know. That's exactly well for listeners who you know, have any questions about what we talked about today or or want to find out more, how can they reach out? So I'm Heather dot Blair at LGE dot com, and anybody's welcome to text me as well. I respond to text pretty quickly, So if you should, I give my text number out there. Sure, Okay, it's three to three one. If you...

...text me, I usually respond right away and I'll let you know I'm on a call, I'm in a meeting, but I'll get right back to you, So I try to be as approachable as possible. Well, Heather, I appreciate all of the insight today. Thanks for joining me. Thank you all right, Thank you so much to have a great one. Yeah, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. If you liked this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag B two B tech Talk. Until next time. I'm Shelby Scare Talk. You've been listening to B two B tech Talk with Ingram Micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's Imagine Next. B two B Tech Talk is a joint production with Sweet Fish Media and Ingram Micro. Ingram Micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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