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3 Challenges Facing eGaming Broadcasters in 2019

eSports has grown from a devoted subculture of gaming enthusiasts into a dominating industry worth more than $500 million as of the end of 2017. As broadcasters begin to stand up and take notice of this, the dynamic of how this content is streamed is transforming due to new monetization models, intrusive ads and unpredictable audiences who engage on levels much deeper than that of modern content.

There’s no question that the model of delivering content in regards to eSports is much more diverse than any other avenue of entertainment. Rooted firmly in live-chat technology used on platforms such as Twitch, Youtube Gaming and Steam.tv, the level of engagement shown by viewers of eSports content makes them both far easier to measure in terms of enjoyment, but also far more volatile and susceptible to churn. It’s a double-edged sword which must be accounted for when designing your platform to stream eSports and eGaming content.

With some estimations claiming global revenue will pass $1 billion in 2020, a huge market is opening up to big players who are willing to take the risk and join the eSports landscape and leverage huge ROI.

To coincide with this, NPAW has put together the three biggest challenges facing eGaming broadcasters in 2019.

A lack of personalization

Considering how much freedom consumers of eSports content are used to with the growing popularity of ‘let’s plays’ on Twitch, there aren’t really enough ways to offer flexibility to audiences in terms of Ad-blockers for ad-funded models

Comparatively, when talking about streamers using websites like Twitch, eSports is still in its infancy when looking at traditional sports broadcasting platforms. While Sky Sports or League Pass allows a much more customizable experience with team preferences, additional content, archives, and other features, eSports streaming offers a much more linear experience where content is not incredibly diverse and recommendation and personalization engines are not as intelligent as those used by Netflix or Youtube. However, this is set to change with the growing number of large businesses investing in eSports teams.

Most of this investment has been from Chinese companies such as Tencent. The tech leader invested $632M in Douyu TV and led a $461.6M funding round for Huya. As both a developer of esports titles and a funder of the platforms they are live-streamed on, it could be said that Tencent is the true king of esports broadcast in China, however, they are slowly introducing their content in the West after trials.

Piracy

Yes, this is an issue with every streaming platform, however, this problem poses a much more serious threat to eSports.

There are many cases of websites like Twitch being used to actually illegally stream sporting matches. More than 1.2 million people viewed illegal streams of the KSI vs Logan Paul boxing match on 25th August 2018, this is 30% more than the 860,000 who bought passes to watch it through Youtube Gaming.

While traditional content delivery platforms have large issues with people ripping their content and uploading it to illegal streaming websites, eSports has the opposite issue which is much more similar to what Youtube faces. Allowing community uploads of live content comes with issues regarding ripping off live content.

How do we tackle this issue? Using a video analytics tool like YOUBORA Suite will allow you to take charge of content and filter certain titles, observe consumption trends and monitor spikes in traffic which will inform your operational teams to help quickly take down illegal content.

Unpredictability

Fleeting audiences means lower ROI for your business and while, again, all streaming sites suffer from unpredictable audiences (look at our FIFA World Cup 2018 Whitepaper), but due to the lack of historical data regarding these events, many streams have seen play errors and high join times. The MSI final this year drew in more than 127 million viewers, this is only 20% of the FIFA World Cup finals, considering the timelines of both avenues, there’s no doubt that this gap is going to be getting closer very quickly.

While we can never see into the future, using a data analytics tool does allow your platform to look deeper into consumption behavior to learn when people are leaving your streams, what events are leading to these exits and what you can do to retain them and reduce churn.

Max Gayler on November 30th 2018

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