A report from a British analytics firm IHS Markit states that esports viewership hours grew 19% in 2016 over the previous year.
Chinese audiences account for the lion’s share of the 6 billion hours, with 11.1 billion streams delivered to the Chinese market. The second-largest market is North America, at only 2.7 billion streams.
“The rapid growth of esports audiences has attracted some of the industry’s largest media and technology companies to the genre, with the likes of Amazon and MTG acquiring key assets,” reads a statement from IHS Markit research director Ted Hall.
“Some of these acquisitions are initiating shifts in esports business dynamics, with players such as China’s Tencent seeking to control assets across the value chain, and publishers moving into league operation.”
The report also suggests that spending on esports advertising is growing at a phenomenal pace. $280 million was spent in 2016, with the analysts suggesting that the figure will eclipse $1 billion by 2021.
“The rise of esports provides some valuable lessons for channels and programmers more broadly,” says IHS Markit senior director Dan Cryan. “In particular, it demonstrates the value of aggregating audiences globally, rather than the more country-specific approach that defined much of the traditional TV business.”
JESS COLWILLJess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.
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