ESPORTS WARS: TWITCH VS. EVERYONE ELSE - PART 1
How quickly things change.
When you're on top of the mountain, unfortunately the only place to go is down. Pre-Amazon acquisition, if you wanted to watch any eSports content, you pretty much went to Twitch.
Things started to change in 2016.
I steadfastly hold to my opinion that one of 2017's biggest eSports themes will be about broadcast and media rights.
Here's what's happened so far this year:
In addition to the Exclusivities, there's also been a big increase in eSports TV deals and programming in 2017:
This past week, we saw another Exclusive broadcast deal, between FACEIT which brings their Counter-Strike based ECS (eSports Championship Series) to YouTube.
Not only did the ECS launch last year on Twitch, this is the 2nd Counter-Strike Exclusive for YouTube Gaming after it's January deal with ESL's Pro League.
This is interesting for a few reasons but let's recap what I said last year about YouTube and eSports:
YouTube basically didn't need live eSports considering how much many it's makes off VOD eSports and Gaming content - cough....Pewdiepie....cough.
Here's why I believe YouTube is making this move now.
/01 COUNTER-STRIKE ESPORTS VIEWERSHIP
If you go back over the last year, Counter-Strike has been in the top 3 eSports games by Hours Viewed and #1 for half of the year. If you're selling ads - you need eyeballs and engagement.
/02 COUNTER-STRIKE EXCLUSIVES
Now that YouTube has both ESL's Pro League and ECS - and considering that ELEAGUE Season 3 hasn't been confirmed yet and IEM/Dreamhack CS events are also on Twitter now - Google has almost a virtual lock on Counter-Strike Exclusive content.
/03 ECS REVENUE SHARING AND GOOGLE SALES
I'm just going to quote directly what FACEIT's Chief Business Officer Michel Attisani told Forbes:
"ECS is co-owned by the teams participating and there is a revenue share in place. This deal will bring great stability to the scene, and will give us the opportunity to really focus on developing the product, while the YouTube and Google sales team will take care of commercializing the content. That’s not just in terms of pure advertising but also in terms of sponsorship and brand integration. When you talk about Google, it's the best sales force in the world when it comes to digital"
/04 YOUTUBE TV AND ESPORTS CONTENT
YouTube's new Live TV subscription service for $35/month has a ton of great content from channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN, 2 and 3, THE CW, FS1, BTN - if the last few sound familiar, they've all broadcast eSports content over the past year.
However there's another potential for eSports and Gaming content: YouTube Red Originals.
YouTube Red Originals will be included in YouTube TV's content package which contains a lot of gaming content.
Offering exclusivity, distribution, content, studio production and monetization - makes YouTube and eSports a lot more compelling than potentially other platforms.
Twitch isn't going to sit back and let YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other emerging startups just take what they've built over the past few years.
How is Twitch going to strike back?
I'll cover that in Part 2.