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C21’s eSports Report 2016

 

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The idea of watching other people play computer games may seem like an alien form of entertainment to TV traditionalists, but eSports is on the verge of becoming a billion-dollar industry with the kinds of audiences most broadcasters only dream of.

Through streaming platforms like Twitch (acquired by Amazon two years ago for US$970m), hundreds of millions of viewers are tuning in and their demographic is precisely that which is said to be straying from television.

So it’s hardly surprising that some of established media’s biggest hitters have been getting into the space over the past 12 months. In the US, Turner and ESPN have both made major plays, while European broadcast group MTG last year paid €78m (US$86m) for a majority stake in Turtle Entertainment, owner of the world’s largest eSports company, ESL. Sky and ITV have made their own investments, while others such as Lionsgate and Endemol Shine have advanced content strategies.

For these companies and others, competitive gaming is much the same as any other spectator sport or reality TV show and ‘eSports’ is a misnomer too crude to denote the true scale of the opportunity.

The C21Pro 2016 eSports Report shines a spotlight on those shaping this fascinating market, profiling leading players over 21 chapters that will publish here over the coming weeks.

Report chapters:

Playing the long game
The concluding part of the C21Pro 2016 eSports Report looks at the latest developments bringing the sector into the mainstream.
Virtual gets real
C21 learns how start-ups Sliver.tv and Wonderworld VR worked with ESL earlier this year to offer the first-ever live VR broadcast of an eSports tournament.
Sky joins the game
Sky might be best known for its sport- and movie-based pay TV operations but it’s also making future-proofing investments in eSports.
ITV’s team player
ITV’s Martin Goswami explains why the broadcaster invested in video games channel Ginx eSports TV.
Gunning for glory
Activision Blizzard has been a force in eSports for years but has now stepped up its game in parallel with its film and TV ambitions.
Competitive tendering
Contrary to many people’s impression, eSports does not need TV – it is TV that needs eSports, claims Joost van Dreunen.
Playing the Gamerz
Fledgling Scandinavian prodco The International Format Group aims to create the ‘Idol’ of the eSports space.
Entering the arena
Portuguese transmedia studio BeActive is behind one of the first scripted TV series set in the world of eSports aimed at reaching a 'lost' audience.
Chasing the dream
Video-games-focused digital entertainment network Machinima is stepping up its activities in eSports, now as part of Warner Bros.
Stuff of Legends
Endemol Shine Group, best known for Big Brother and MasterChef, is treating eSports as a competition reality format like any other.
Sporting chance
Juniper Research's Lauren Foye explores the opportunities and pitfalls traditional media firms face getting into eSports.
Getting off the sidelines
Sky and ITV have invested in eSports net Ginx, whose CEO argues traditional media has ignored the genre too long.
Talent training
The world of eSports is about to create a break-out star on the scale of Beckham or Bolt, says WME-IMG.
A different league
US media giant Turner is bringing eSports into the mainstream by packaging it in a way that appeals to traditional TV viewers.
Crossing the streams
After initial reserve, US sportscaster ESPN has made significant online and linear TV plays in eSports. The broadcaster's John Lasker explains his strategy.
A league of its own
Market intelligence specialist Newzoo’s Peter Warman examines the rapid rise in global eSports revenue.
Ultimate prize
US reality TV specialist Pilgrim Studios aims to bring eSports to broader audiences after teaming up with ESL to create programming.
Hunger for gaming
US studio Lionsgate is getting into eSports via a dedicated investment arm and by developing content around tournaments.
All to play for
MTG has been among the most active backers of eSports, investing in ESL parent Turtle Entertainment and DreamHack.
In it to win it
ESL has emerged as one of the world's largest eSports companies and is extending its reach through traditional media partnerships.
Game on
Global eSports revenues will exceed US$1bn by 2019. But what potential do companies spy and what’s the appeal for millennials?
C21’s eSports Report 2016
Report date: November 2016

Report price: £45.00

Report editor: Jonathan Webdale