Yahoo eSports Shuts Down

YAHOO ESPORTS SHUTS DOWN

Yahoo eSports Shuts Down (Photo: Oath)

Yahoo eSports Shuts Down (Photo: Oath)

TNL Take:  One of the sadder eSports stories to emerge from E3 last week was that Yahoo eSports would be shuttered.

Anyone losing their job is bad news and having spent over a decade in the gaming space, I've seen plenty of friends laid off after putting blood, sweat and tears to ship a title on time.

This is unfortunate but not a surprise however: it had been talked about that the site was struggling overall - ESPN eSports has ~10X Twitter followers - and a week prior, it was confirmed that Verizon was laying off as many as 2,100 people of AOL-Yahoo's staff after the merger closed.

This obviously also kills the 2-year deal that ESL signed with Yahoo eSports last August to produce tournaments together as well as brand deals like this one with Reese's Puffs.

ESL's 2 Year Deal with Yahoo eSports Is Done (Photo: The Next Level)

ESL's 2 Year Deal with Yahoo eSports Is Done (Photo: The Next Level)

A few days prior to the Yahoo news, another eSports site Gamurs, announced the closure of one of the leading eSports wiki sites. Gamurs themselves merged with Dot eSports just 3 months ago.

Gamurs CEO Riad Chikhani wrote an excellent Medium post that outlines the reality of digital media today especially for those in gaming and eSports. Here are a few key points:

  • One of their sites was averaging around 1.85M page views per month with 5 ads on the page, generating ~9M+ "ad impressions" per month. The CPM - Cost Per 1,000 Impressions aka How Sites Make Money - averaged just under $3 last year. So in an absolute perfect world scenario, the site would generate about $300,000+ a year which isn't bad. However, perfect worlds don't exist, especially not in media

 

  • Generally ad block is anywhere from 25%-50% depending on content. However, gaming/eSports has the highest ad block rate of any type of media content. Riad confirmed that ~80% of site users were using ad block which is absolutely in line with both gaming media sites and some streaming content

 

This isn't restricted to gaming media but digital media overall. Here's what's happened in just the past 3 months outside of Verizon:

There are a lot of reasons why this is happening but here's 1 very simple chart to illustrate a major point:

There's Google and Facebook and then Everyone Else (Photo: Poynter.org)

There's Google and Facebook and then Everyone Else (Photo: Poynter.org)

Analysis from Pivotal Research group estimated that 71% of all digital advertising went to the two industry behemoths, Google and Facebook, while the trillion other publishers, media companies, social networks, and programmatic middlemen fight for the ever dwindling portion of the pixelated pie.

Now throw in Oath (Verizon/Yahoo/AOL), Twitter, Snapchat and 5 companies have a lock on ~80% of the digital ad market.

5 companies. 80%.

There have been many, many, many articles on the "downfall of digital media and the power of the few", however this quote from Talking New Media lays it out well: 

I’ve been in publishing professionally since 1981, but anyone can write about media these days, and most of the sites that do are staffed with those whose very first job in media was to do so. Some end up doing a great job and are supported by editors and revenue producers. Others come and go so frequently that it is hard to chronicle their launch and death. But success is not merely a matter of doing one thing well: content or design or technology is not enough in isolation, nor is having one great idea.
The media business, like making a film, involves many different skills, great ideas, creativity, sufficient funding, license to experiment. Then a lot of luck.
Good luck to all of you.

 

Wish all the staff of both sites a safe landing.

eSports Week In Review | eSports Youngest Sports TV Viewer, PWC's Real Research, Pro Hockey Invests

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | ESPORTS IS YOUNGEST SPORTS TV VIEWER, PWC'S REAL RESEARCH, PRO HOCKEY INVESTS

Twitch eSports Arena Presented By T-Mobile (Photo: Twitch)

Twitch eSports Arena Presented By T-Mobile (Photo: Twitch)

TNL Take: This biggest gaming conference in the US - E3 - revealed a ton of eSports related news and brand deals which will be looked at deeper.

This week, the next The Next Level was revealed, PWC released a realistic eSports revenue report, Pro Hockey investment increases, and as the sports tv viewer ages, eSports remains the youngest.

 

MONDAY 06/12

The Next The Next Level

The Next Level (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

The Next Level (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

PWC's 2017 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook (Photo: PWC)

PWC's 2017 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook (Photo: PWC)

EA Sports NHL 94 aka The Best Hockey Game Ever Made™ (Photo: Racketboy)

EA Sports NHL 94 aka The Best Hockey Game Ever Made™ (Photo: Racketboy)

TNL Infographic 046: Sports vs. eSports Viewership Ages (Source: Magna Global/Sports Business Journal/Nielsen Infographic: Jordan Fragen)

TNL Infographic 046: Sports vs. eSports Viewership Ages (Source: Magna Global/Sports Business Journal/Nielsen Infographic: Jordan Fragen)

 

Have a great weekend!

As Sports Viewers Skew Older, eSports Is Youngest

AS SPORTS VIEWERS SKEW OLDER, ESPORTS IS YOUNGEST

The eSports Audience: Younger Than Sports (Photo: Riot Games)

The eSports Audience: Younger Than Sports (Photo: Riot Games)

TNL Take: Recently Magna Global in a study for the SportsBusiness Journal used Nielsen data across 24 sports to analyze how the median viewership ages have changed from 2000-2016.

"Going gray: Sports TV viewers skew older" (Source/Photo: SportsBusiness Journal)

"Going gray: Sports TV viewers skew older" (Source/Photo: SportsBusiness Journal)

It's a great article filled with actual data and worth your time to read but a quick TL/DR:

  • Headline "Going gray: Sports TV viewers skew older"
  • The median age for Golf is ~60
  • The NHL saw the biggest increase in media age increase (+16 years) from 2000 to 49
  • 3 of the 4 major US sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL) are ~50 or higher

Why wouldn't they include eSports?

No data going back to 2000, only 1 data point from 2006 (MLG on USA Network) and no 100% apples-to-apples to comparison for eSports in 2016 yet. So all fair points.

But I was curious so I did it anyways.

Here's how Sports viewership on TV compares with eSports on TV: 

Before we get into the data a few HUGE caveats:

  • The Magna Global/SBJ data is quantitative Nielsen data over time. The 32 median age for eSports is based on Nielsen's 2016 eSports report which is a survey. So while not a true exact comparison, it's the closest publicly released data point available.
  • I won't even compare major Sports viewership vs. eSports - it's not even close
  • While eSports viewers are almost 2 decades younger than an NFL viewer, the ad revenue is the size of an ant compared to the blue whale money machine of football

So how close can we get to accurate data?

Let's say...you may hear some news shortly. But there are a 2 additional data points I can add:

  • There have been 50+ eSports programs on TV in the US from 2016 to today
  • The average of those 50+ programs is ~55% within the 18-49 demo

While that still doesn't give us a definitive median age for eSports on TV, the current data falls closely to the 32 survey age.

However, I didn't include this point in the chart to avoid confusing digital and TV - please stop that already - but in terms of media and eSports future, I believe it's important:

 

While the median age of eSports on TV is ~32, the media age on streaming platforms is even lower at 25

 

TV is a $70B+ industry in the US.  The NBA Finals draw 20M+ viewers - which has increased for the past 3 years. TV is not disappearing anytime soon especially with digital media mired in the  "programmatic/DSP/SSP, it's-not-adtech-its-martech, brand safety, what's-a-view-exactly" mud.

But if your target audience is 18-49 and you believe that moving (1) :30 second commercial spot for $250,000 to eSports is not worth your time - your competitors will.

PWC Releases Realistic eSports Revenue Research

PWC RELEASES REALISTIC ESPORTS REVENUE RESEARCH

PWC's 2017 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook (Photo: PWC)

PWC's 2017 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook (Photo: PWC)

TNL Take: Over the weekend I received trademark # 87882149 from the USPTO for the acronym RRR™ for Ridiculous Research Report.

As the spotlight on eSports continues to grow and with further exposure to a "mainstream" audience, as with any new opportunity; there will be a rush for a slice of the pie.

I've lost count how many eSports RRR™'s I've read in the last month.

I'm not even going to bother to show the most recent one from Pacific Crest Securities but here are my tweets on its absurdity.

So I was pretty shocked when PWC released their latest Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2017-2021 and their eSports ad revenue estimates were actually in the ballpark.

Before getting to the current research, let's rewind the clock a bit. Last year, PWC released their first eSports study.

As I wrote, in The Next Level 003, I thought the research didn't make any sense and even spoke to Chris Lederer, a Principal at PWC about how they came to their findings.

While the previous report could be filed under the "research" category, PWC's annual Entertainment and Media Outlook is loaded with actual data and numbers.

While there has been a huge increase in Brands investing within eSports - which is a fantastic thing - the budgets are Belarusian Ruble's compared to the massive dollars those same Brands spend on TV or Facebook.

TNL Infographic 032: Q1 2017: The Brands That Invested In eSports (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

TNL Infographic 032: Q1 2017: The Brands That Invested In eSports (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

Here are PWC's estimates for 2016:

  • US Total Revenue: $108M
  • US Ad Streaming Revenue: $33M
  • US Ad Sponsorship Revenue: $44M

Those are by far the most realistic eSports ad revenue estimates I've seen. For perspective, the ludicrous Morgan Stanley Overwatch League research base case revenue estimate for Sponsorships is $30M - for just the league.

While we've hit 50 Brands investing within eSports so far this year - which is on pace to double 2016's total - the number that are investing over $1M+ are very small currently.  That will only continue to increase as we're already seeing several Brand renewals this year with increased spend.

Any research that reflects the true state of the industry is a welcome signal against a wall of noise.

[Ed: The trademark # is a joke. Please don't look it up.]