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Gamers On Trial: The ECA's Hal Halpin on Consumer Advocacy
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Gamers On Trial: The ECA's Hal Halpin on Consumer Advocacy

October 25, 2006 Article Start Previous Page 7 of 8 Next

GS: You mentioned print ads in the enthusiast press, are you going beyond gaming publications? In print, I mean.

HH: Initially it will just be the endemic media, mainly because those are the people that we've partnered with over the last few months, and trying to take out ads in some of the bigger, broader magazines, where impactful. I think it needs to be a strategic decision.

GS: And where would be impactful?

HH: It depends. Again, if we're talking about parents that are also casual gamers, then it's probably one set of outlets. If it's parents that we're just trying to educate about the issues, it's probably another whole set of outlets, and we're not going to be able to move as quickly as this holiday season. Right now, we're really just focused on building the membership, and getting awareness out, so this is probably something that will be a long-term process. And in terms of editorial, I think that's something we can start sooner than later. In terms of advertising, we probably have to be more particular, we have to be really careful about how we're spending our members' money.

GS: I'm assuming that the initial advertising is to gain membership, and then subsequent advertising would be advocacy and awareness?

HH: Actually, the initial round of advertising does both. So I'm hoping to build awareness about the association, but at the same time, build awareness about the advocacy, and the importance of those issues.

GS: Has the weekly editorial content started yet?

HH: It has not. And hopefully it will be daily!

GS: That's a lot.

HH: That is a lot. I'm hoping to build it in a way that a lot of content will come from partner websites, and so we'll just be pushing back out information that we feel is important for our members to be aware of, and that will be driving back to our partners.

GS: Well…I haven't gotten a call yet, I…[laughs]

HH: I'll make a note!

GS: I don't know a whole lot about your background, but can you brief me on political interactions you've had?

HH: Sure! I've been in the industry for about fifteen years. The first half of that was approximately in the publishing side. I used to run Game Week magazine, which became IE, and then while I was doing that I founded the IEMA, the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, a retail group that represented all the major retailers in the channel, and has over the course of the past, oh, seven to nine years. That spanned a lot of the advocacy we did was in the last three or four years.

Prior to that, the focus really was on the ratings system and the publishers, and when the spotlight started moving towards the retailers is when I personally became more involved in testifying for state legislatures and the FTC and working with the senators. I think it was four or five years ago that I was first beckoned by Senator Lieberman up to Hartford and called in for a meeting. So that's probably my first one on one with a politician, and ever since it's been a real education.

Article Start Previous Page 7 of 8 Next

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