Thanks to its digitally nurtured devotees, the burgeoning but rapidly evolving esports sector is arguably one of the most influential elements in the future of digital tech and traditional media and their relationship with consumers.
That is the key message of Why Esports Is: The Next Audience Opportunity for Media, the insightful White Paper produced for Esports BAR by WePlay! Esports, the Ukraine-based international esports organisation and media company.
In the US $2 trillion-plus global media-and-entertainment market, audiences have been fragmented by the still powerful presence of linear broadcast TV, print publications and radio co-existing next to social media, apps, instant messaging, podcasts, streaming videos and other digital-first services.
According to Why Esports Is: The Next Audience Opportunity for Media, esports has successfully connected those different media points to grow the esports audience, even in highly disruptive times like the current Covid pandemic.
The White Paper notes the following:
- Esports fans are young Gen Z consumers and Millennials with access to disposable income, with 62% of them aged between 18 and 34.
- The esports audience is forecast to grow to more than 500 million worldwide next year from 454 million in 2019.
- More than 80% of the revenues generated by esports internationally last year were from endemic and non-endemic brand owners keen to reach the esports audience.
The report offers tips for existing and potential esports stakeholders on how to retain the attention of these 21st-century consumers who are zealous about gaming but can be unpredictable about where their loyalties lie within the esports universe.
The advice on offer includes:
- Brand owners need to be experts on how to use esports media if their brand messages are to be effective for esports audience.
- Content creators must understand how esports audience adopt and deploy digitally created media.
- Esports audience does not just lean back and watch, they interact with each other and gamers to form steadfast communities.
- Esports fans communicate with content creators and also reward their favourite esports players directly.
- Stakeholders need to keep an eye on the new generation of esports-media brands, from streaming services like Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Huya to online magazines like The Esports Observer, Esports Insider, Dot Esports and Dexerto.
- Investment is growing in esports media-and-entertainment ventures like ReKtGlobal, Mediapro, VENN and MinuteMedia’s DBLTAP.
As an “esportainment” media company, WePlay! itself was originally built by gamers who realised that the emergence of live-streaming services like Twitch would require original content.
WePlay! has stayed true to that mission as demonstrated by Chief Producer Maksym Bilonogov at Esports BAR in Cannes earlier this year. During his keynote address, he explained the company’s use of Augmented Reality to make esports a more immersive experience for esports audience.
And in an informative interview for this White Paper, Dmitriy Karpenko, WePlay!’s Chief Business Development Officer explains how the company develops native esports content to appeal to both hardcore and casual esports players in an environment that is also brand-friendly.
For traditional media, esports is an innovative content that attracts a young audience. For digital/social media, it is a traditional content that retains the audience – Karpenko