TNL Take: In this edition of "5 Questions With", we speak with Michiel Bakker, CEO of GINX Esports TV. Michiel was previously with MTV Networks Europe as well as Chairman of Nickelodeon and Paramount Networks. He is now focusing on growing GINX Esports TV digital and social footprint alongside the TV channel in multiple international markets. Michiel will also be speaking at Esports BAR, the leading B2B event for esports.
Ginx.tv is currently the largest esports TV channel globally. As esports has grown digitally, where does Ginx see esports on TV?
We see the role of TV in the esports ecosystem as extending the reach of esports into mainstream sports audiences. Production values and perhaps more importantly, entertainment value, are increasing all the time; which helps us stand alongside more traditional sports channels. When more of the audience understand the fundamentals of the games being played, the more they can share in the passion. That’s why Ginx is deliberately taking an inclusive stance towards non-core and core gamers alike.
How many countries is Ginx.tv currently available and what are your expansion goals for 2018?
Right now GINX Esports TV is available in more than 50 million households in over 50 territories worldwide. For 2018, we want to grow that by 50% to 75 million households with hopefully a significant announcement shortly.
You currently have several shows in production including "This Week in Esports", "The Bridge", and "IRL" - talk about the importance of shoulder content in addition to esports events and tournaments?
We love telling stories and that’s what TV is good at. If anything, I’d like to do a lot more storytelling with the channel and our plans are constantly evolving. I see it as a key purpose for Ginx, one where we can add real value to esports overall, which is to tell the stories of the players, the teams and the behind-the-scenes at tournaments - as well as broadcasting the events themselves. Passion, emotion. dedication, pain, sacrifice, sublime mastery and utter elation are all present in esports and all fertile ground for storytelling.
What are your plans to enter the US Market?
Obviously the US is a massive esports market and although we are already present through the Sony Playstation Vue service, as well as in some smaller cable systems in certain states, we have well-developed plans to enter the US market in the near term but it is just a little to early to share those at this moment.
You also offer the ability to watch digitally on Ginx.tv - what percentagee of your audience is watching digitally vs. TV?
The vast majority of our audience is watching us through TV, we are a TV station after all. Having said that, we are working very hard to expand the digital footprint around and alongside the TV channel. Our aim is to build and scale a digital community alongside the TV channel. In addition to making improvements to our existing portfolio of digital products, be that our own Ginx TV Player or our presence on platforms like Roku and Amazon, our plans centre around content syndication and extending our presence on mobile.
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