eSports and streamed games content will drive $3.5 billion in revenues by 2021, up from $1.8 billion in 2017, due to what Juniper Research says is an uptick in ad spending.
The research firm revealed that while the subscription model, which is seen on platforms such as Twitch, will contribute significant revenues to the industry, it will be advertisers who gain the most benefits.
By 2021, 90% of eSports and “Let’s Play” viewers will also be watching ad-supported casual games streams.
In tandem with eSports viewership, Juniper noted that the popularity of casual “Let’s Plays,” including commentary on streams of the playing of video games, has “accelerated dramatically.”
New research has found that what has driven the rise in “Let’s Plays” is viewers’ desire improve their own gameplay coupled with a dedicated following of individual broadcasters on platforms including Twitch and YouTube. It argued that companies seeking to cash in on the trend should either work with a streamer who aligns with their values or closely monitor content which is to be published in public.
Case in point is the controversy created by Swedish web-based comedian and video producer PewDiePie for his nongaming videos. In February, Disney-owned Maker Studios multichannel network cut its ties with PewDiePie over videos that allegedly contained anti-Semitic jokes.
“As we saw following PewDiePie’s recent controversial videos, a breach of a sponsor’s values can result in the termination of lucrative partnerships,” said Lauren Foye, senior research analyst for Juniper Research, in a release. “Nevertheless, a rise in PewDiePie’s channel engagement following the scandal highlights a quandary sponsors are facing.”
Juniper says that eSports has just started to be monetized through alternative means, adding that merchandise sales, time-limited content such as in-game items and access passes will form part of a wider industry growth trend.