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HeartMedia Launches iHeartLand in Fortnite Where Concerts, Podcasts and Gaming Collide in the Metaverse

Press release

Update: Dec, 2023: I originally wrote this article when asked about exploring new opportunities for products in the metaverse. While the hype didn't amount to much in hindsight, I still believe the metaverse to be a real opportunity -- the only real question is when.

Note that some content has been removed to avoid references to IP.

A New Blue Ocean

While we didn't discover it, this ocean is abundant with opportunity, and our strong connections with broadcasters (and eventually content creators) can grant us first-access to providing metaverse-specific solutions to bring them along and grow their revenue in these new worlds.

The Ad-Supported Metaverse

Broadcasters and creators will need to know how to leverage any metaverse experience they generate to attract advertisers and/or sponsors.

Engagement is Still Engagement

Though the venue has changed, the way brands engage their audience isn't likely to change in many ways. It's not unreasonable to think our existing expertise in audience engagement would also apply here. How can we leverage that expertise?

[Editor's note: Removed references to IP]

Yeah, But Some Things Did Change

This new market represents the merging of several different consumer industries. As shown by the iHeart press release, gaming and entertainment is one such merger.

Daniel Anstandig points out in his LinkedIn post other possibilities, like that of individual or teams of content creators with curated metaverse experiences, or that of the broadcast industry with younger generations of users on a variety of metaverse platforms within social media (basically, big tech).

New Revenue Models (To Creators)

Beyond new markets, there are long-standing revenue models that exist in one industry, but not the other, that can be leveraged with a whole new class of consumer.

Additionally, while the below revenue models are based in the gaming industry, they need not be limited to it. Other metaverse worlds may equally benefit from them.

Micro Transactions in Gaming

Nearly all "free to play" games, and most subscription-based games, provide some mechanism for in-game purchases. Called micro transactions because the game producers are able to sell, usually with an in-game currency converted from dollars, an infinite number of essentially free-to-produce items to customize a player's appearance, or give them special abilities. As the article mentions, they can also come in the form of mini-games within a game, for a chance to win something special.

Fortnite has reportedly made over $1 billion in micro-transactions in its first year alone. In 2022, micro transactions are expected to generate $67 billion for the gaming industry.

I've personally known individuals who have paid $1k-$10k+ for an individual purchase toward an in-game event or an item that gave them a unique or significant advantage (these people are called "whales", borrowed from the Wall Street lexicon).

Micro Transactions rely primarily on impulse buying, as small dollar items are easy for people to justify (imagine your kid saying, "it's only $2 and I neeeeed it!" Okay fine, here, go away). Micro transactions also rely heavily on social pressure and gaming addiction.

It should be noted that most popular games also have robust unregulated markets for the buying and selling of in-game items/services outside of the game's economy. It can be extremely lucrative (think of third-party event ticket dealers). See Games (And Metaverses) Have Their Own Economy below.

Renew/Refreshable Content

In iHeart's press release, they state:

"In true Fortnite fashion, iHeartLand will be dynamic, developing a story of its own; undergoing periodic changes and refreshes; and periodically introducing new mini-games."

This is another tried and true revenue model for the gaming industry -- renewable content. For example, an annual week-long event with a new story that comes with new exclusive purchases, new mini-games, or any number of other details that are inexpensive to produce and are built on top of a mostly static event-space.

All the infrastructure is built once, then refreshed annually.

Games (And Metaverses) Have Their Own Economy

Seriously. One such MMO (massively multiplayer online [game]) even hired a PhD economist to help them develop it.

"So far I have not found any example of an economic theory that does not apply to a virtual economy like EVE." - Dr. EyjoG (Eve-Online Economist)

Eve Online (the above game) estimates that its current virtual economy is worth $55 million in cash, and that's just the official one.

It should not come as a surprise then, that the same applies to any given popular metaverse. New virtual economies will emerge, both regulated and unregulated.

Much research has been conducted on the topic of virtual economies.

Content Creators are Likely Gamers

Content creators -- certainly younger ones -- are likely to have extensively immersed themselves in at least one game. They can use their insider-knowledge to help build relationships with the player-base, and a mutually beneficial relationship with the game's producer to create exclusive events (metaverse or otherwise), taking advantage of the aforementioned revenue models.


  • A creator who focuses on decor designs furnishings for players'/guilds' personal spaces in-game. These items are usually fairly expensive to purchase.
  • A metal band designs wicked looking armor or weapons for a combat game.
  • A sci-fi creator imagines technology and items, or even writes storylines, for a futuristic metaverse.

These are things that may be sold in any number of ways:

  • Freely available for purchase
  • Limited time offer
  • In limited quantities
  • Sold exclusively at a paid event
  • Auctioned off

or even a combination of the above.

Connecting Big & Small

National brands with a lot of clout and capital might also be encouraged to leverage that power to attract smaller content creators with popularity related to a theme/topic of a metaverse or metaverse sub-space to help each other create unique and authentic experiences for consumers while taking advantage of the aforementioned models.


There's a lot to know about exploring new opportunities in the metaverse, but I think it can also be said that while some of these concepts may be new to some groups, they are not novel to the world. The fundamentals of investment into this space are established practices spread across various industries -- one need only discover how those tools fit in our toolbox.