Leandro Veríssimo, general manager of Azerion in Brazil: “Scale is one of our assets”

general manager da Azerion

Azerion, a Dutch digital entertainment multinational with businesses in the areas of games, digital videos and media, announces its entry into the Brazilian market. The official arrival is marked by the launch of the new version of Jogue Aqui, a free game platform in partnership with the IG portal, with hundreds of quality games for computer and smartphone. Leandro Veríssimo, a professional with more than 25 years in the Communication market, takes over as country manager and will be responsible for the operation in the country, the first of the company outside Europe. Brazil occupies the third position in the ranking with the largest number of players in Azerion's titles, adding up to more than 1.3 billion in advertising inventory. As a result, the national operation will seek to connect Brazilian consumers, publishers and advertisers, making its portfolio of more than 13,500 games available. Azerion is growing fast and leading a revolution in the European market after promoting important acquisitions of developers, such as Yoda Games, Spil Games, Woozworld, Plinga, Kizi and Sulake, creator of the iconic Habbo Hotel, which has the largest player community in the country in the world, with more than 400 thousand active monthly players, according to a survey by Sulake, carried out in July 2020. "Advertising in game sessions, whether on smartphones or computers, is strategic for many brands", says the executive .

Leandro, how did the opportunity to bring Azerion to Brazil come about?

Thanks to a strategy supported by acquisitions. In less than five years, Azerion has become a major European player. The group made more than 35 acquisitions of companies in the gaming and advertising technology sectors that allowed us to grow quickly and enter the media and entertainment market. At the end of 2019, the company took control of Zoomin, which has been active in Brazil since 2011. With that, we launched the company's first office outside Europe.

Tell us a little about Azerion for those who don't know it yet.

Azerion is a media and technology company, based in Amsterdam. We develop games and online gaming environments with more than 350 million unique users per month. At the same time, we invest in advertising technologies to place ads in our own inventory. When operating at scale, we access a large and engaged audience, which represents a great source of data that advertisers and publishers can take advantage of for their campaigns.

What are the main pillars of the company?

Our performance is based on three pillars: Content, Platforms and Advertising with services for publishers and advertisers. We are a partner that offers a unique condition because we have created a reliable, safe and transparent ecosystem with advertising inventory within the games integrated into our platform.

How does Azerion's culture influence its employees?

The group brings together more than 1,000 people in its 22 offices in Europe and Brazil. Despite its size, Azerion is a young company and has a startup pace, with a relaxed atmosphere, without pressure and plenty of space for employees to leave their mark and build their career. This means that there are many opportunities, as long as you work hard.

In what ways is the Brazilian market vital to the company?

Brazil is the 3rd country in the world in number of players, and one of the largest audiences for Azerion games. With that, it is natural that with our operation it will also become one of the main billings of the company.

What will be the business ecosystem for the publishers, advertisers and agencies market?

Our ecosystem integrates more than 15 thousand online game titles of all types, for desktop and smartphones with more than 350 million unique monthly users. Our advertising technologies, combined with the data from the games and videos we produce, allow brands to connect with a large, targeted audience with great advantages. We offer many publishers our own game content, for distribution in their publications, in order to improve the reach and engagement of their audiences and who use our advertising technology to maximize their revenues. The advantage is to offer all this in a controlled, transparent, safe and efficient environment, which creates value for all parties.

What is fundamental in an adtech that wants to succeed in the market?

It is the ability to deliver targeted advertising to the right audience, at the right time and place. Advertising only works if you present it to an engaged audience. If a web user doesn’t like the site they’re on, they’re unlikely to respond positively to the ad. But games involve people. People tend to spend more time in a game than in any other medium. In addition, players are more inclined than non-players to accept publicity and recommend products. As different types of people play different games, it is possible to segment these audiences in a much more sophisticated way than on social networks. Some big brands are starting to understand the potential of games for their campaigns.

Fast-paced digitization has fallen short of digital entertainment. How to enjoy this moment in the best possible way?

The scale is one of our assets. The content side of our business gives us access to a large audience that is engaged with data that helps us understand it. The bigger we are, the more we can customize advertising solutions, content and this efficiency gain makes our business extremely robust, a reliable alternative to technology giants.

Why is the company revolutionary in its vision?

One company stands out when it is more efficient than others in a given area. It is innovative when what it creates becomes a new habit, and it is revolutionary when it promotes a change in the structure of a market. THE Azerion it is changing the structure of the European advertising market, promoting acquisitions and doubling in size every year.

Could this revolution in the European market take place in Brazil too?

We have that potential. Despite the size, both the games market as the advertising in games is maturing in the country, taking the first steps. It is a challenging environment, with many creative companies and innovative solutions.

15 of the 20 most downloaded games on the App Store are part of the Azerion portfolio. What is essential to continue and even expand this high performance?

Our most important asset is our players, so it is essential to understand what our audience wants. Having successful and popular free games in the portfolio is important, the larger the audience, the greater the revenue. For the ecosystem, our strategy is to rely on quality games, of various types and consumption in all age groups.

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