Founded just over a year ago, LOUD is one of the most prominent organizations in the Brazilian esports scene. In a short span of time, it gained worldwide recognition by becoming the first esports organization to hit 1B views on YouTube, built one of the most engaged communities in the world, and helped to make the mobile game Free Fire one of the main esports in Brazil.
To understand more about the Brazilian market and the strategy that made LOUD grow so quickly, The Esports Observer spoke with two of its three founders: Bruno “Playhard” Bittencourt and Jean Ortega, revealing what led to the formation of LOUD, their views on the Brazilian market, and the plans for the future.
“I have been working with online content since I was 15 years old, so I am a native of social networks and [the] internet,” Bittencourt said. Being a big content producer in Brazil, he made successful content campaigns for the game Vainglory. His contact with the game’s producer, Super Evil Megacorp, took place through Brazilian-native Jean Ortega, who worked for the company together with the Canadian Matthew Ho.
Ortega and Ho had worked in the U,S. for years in the mobile games space, and during an occasion when Bittencourt was in the country, they met. Seeing that their various skill sets complemented each other, the trio decided to found a new company in the Brazillian esports scene, a market they viewed as having great potential and several open opportunities.
Free Fire and the Brazilian Market
Although one of the founders is not Brazilian, the decision to concentrate efforts in the country was “natural,” Bittencourt said. In addition to knowledge about the market the founders already had, Bittencourt’s existing audience was a good starting point for the company. “We would lose a lot of strength that we already had in terms of partners, content, and follower base if we didn’t do our business in the country,” he said.
So despite being a bootstrapped company, LOUD did not start from scratch. Bruno already had a huge community of subscribers on his YouTube gaming channel ( 11M subscribers as of this writing). “I already had a very large base of followers, several commercial contacts, partners, and sponsors who were working heryoue in Brazil,” he said. After LOUD’s foundation, his influence got so powerful that in 2020 Bruno appeared in the Brazilian version of Forbes 30 Under 30.
Bittencourt highlighted some of the key points that were observed at the start of the business: “It is an emerging market, with an extremely high potential for mobile games, being one of the countries with the biggest consumption of it,” he said. “The country also stands out in the consumption of digital content, being top 3 in the world. So all these factors made the choice to start in Brazil very natural.”
Bittencourt said that his partners’ expertise made it possible to “have a futuristic vision of what will happen since many of the U.S. trends end up being reflected in Brazil after some time and we realized that the esports market in Brazil was still very immature in the sense of producing storytelling content and giving the player structure and support. So we focus[ed] on those points.”
LOUD Co-Founder Jean Ortega added that “Brazil is the next market to take off. Having already a love for soccer, the new generation is also turning to esports. This younger generation is looking for something they are passionate about. We wanted to create an environment where Bruno could create content and create a family.”
What made the company stand out was a massive production of content and its consumption by a loyal base of followers. Bittencourt said that providing unique experiences and storytelling helped LOUD build and retain its audience: “I ended up realizing that a great way to make the esports public engage and follow the content is the passion that the follower has for storytelling. So, if a video can reveal traits of a specific player, or if you cover the backstage of a championship, or a moment when the player first participates in an event with fans, it ends up generating a much more solid relationship than a simple gameplay video.”
He emphasized that the production of content must be combined with discipline in relation to the parameters that stand out on YouTube and other media: “Knowing how to work on YouTube, which for me is the great cannon in Brazil to reach the audience, we also work on all other networks, such as Twitter and Instagram, always focusing on what are the best practices and what works for each of them,” Bittencourt said. “There is no secret: studying each platform and having experience with them, we get to know what usually performs better and what kind of content works for each one. And then you need to have a frequency. We produce content for YouTube every day, posts on Twitter and Instagram every day, and this is something that many teams do not keep up with. Sometimes they produce very good content but only publish it once a month, and that doesn’t work very well on YouTube today.”
Bittencourt also highlighted important characteristics of LOUD’s audience: it is 65.9% male and 43.3% ages 18-24: “The public is immediate, and likes to consume content every day even if it doesn’t have a very high quality. We adapted our production for this and, let’s say, it is not a magic formula, but it is what has always worked, and we brought this with the experience of people who already worked with content to make it happen,” Bittencourt said. He also points out the vast network of influence that LOUD consolidated: “Of course, we had the commitment of all LOUD influencers to participate in this content frequently and produce content in their own channels, as each one is already a celebrity outside LOUD.”
Despite recently announcing its entry into the competitive Fortnite scene, LOUD reached the 1B mark on YouTube by dedicating itself to only one game in the esports scene, Free Fire, a mobile game by the Singapore-based Garena.
Ortega explained LOUD’s focus on the game because “studying the market we could see that Free Fire would be the next big game. The community is super engaged, and also the accessibility of the mobile platform, especially of Free Fire, is a key factor.”
“When we launched LOUD, Free Fire was already on the rise in Brazil, and it was an ideal moment because it guaranteed the reach, the number for influencers and the market to give a dimension to projects like LOUD. And more than being a game that was already extremely widespread, this esports market was very immature. No large team participated in a professional or structured way in the Free Fire scene. We concluded that Free Fire was not having the necessary investment to explore its potential, so we decided to do that,” Bittencourt said.
Ultimately Bittencourt and company focused on Free Fire, because they genuinely liked the game: “It matched our tastes. I and my friends already liked the game a lot and have been producing content for a long time.”
Today Free Fire is recognized as one of the main esports in Brazil. Flamengo Esports, one of the most prominent organizations in the country, announced that it is building its team, while Corinthians, a very traditional and popular Brazilian soccer club, also has its own team and won the Free Fire world championship at the end of 2019.
Investing in Music
LOUD’s business model is undoubtedly focused on the success of its gaming and esports content. But through it, the company promotes other pillars that support the team’s income. Ortega says that there are three pillars LOUD focuses on: gaming, lifestyle, and music.
Gaming is a very evident pillar in the organization’s composition, while the lifestyle is highlighted by the content produced, which promotes the “LOUD way of life,” and the clothing and merchandising pieces that are sold under the brand. The musical pillar, however, is something that may surprise many.
“The production of music content in Brazil is something that is not very strong yet, and our audience consumes it a lot and likes it a lot. We still want to work on that for this year,” Bittencourt said.
Ortega gives more details about the status of this work: “We are still in the learning phases, trying to understand how the whole market works. But it is something we are really passionate about,” he said. “Everything is produced by LOUD, in our studios, with our equipment and our crew.”
The song, “Sou da LOUD” (or “I am from LOUD” in English), released on Dec. 14, 2019, includes the participation of singers from outside LOUD, and has added to more than 21M views on YouTube and 600K reproductions on Spotify so far.
“Because music is something that young people consume as much as gaming, we also want to work on that,” Bittencourt sid. “We want to test sounds about our universe and, from that, who knows, have the LOUD’s artists as well.”.
Bittencourt said that LOUD is already thinking beyond what it already does in the Brazillian market including the production of applications, the realization of face-to-face events, and online tournaments. “Everything that makes sense to our audience makes sense to us,” he said.
Source: Read Full Article