The worldwide gaming audience for gaming video content will reach 665m in 2017, according to the latest report from SuperData, which is more than double the population of the US. The market research firm also expects the worldwide audience to keep growing, with viewership expanding by 21 per cent between 2017 and 2021.
In 2016, SuperData found the gaming video content audience reached 517m viewers on YouTube and 185m on Twitch, figures that surpass mainstream TV channels such as ESPN and HBO. Gaming is also the most dominant category on YouTube after music, with 77m subscribers worldwide.
During 2017, gaming video content is expected to generate $4.6bn in revenue, with $3.2bn of that figure coming from advertising and sponsorships. The remaining portion will be direct to the streamers, from paid subscriptions or voluntary donations. To put that figure into perspective, SuperData says that's more revenue than the top football leagues in Spain and Germany, which earned $3.2bn and $3.5bn respectively in the 2015-2016 season.
Interestingly, Twitch currently earns 37 per cent of gaming video content revenue despite only having 16 per cent of the total viewership. 51 per cent of Twitch revenue comes from direct spending, versus 31 per cent for the industry as a whole.
PC and console players who watch gaming video content spend over $70 a month on digital games and in-game content, according to SuperData, which is 56 per cent more than their non-viewer counterparts. In the US, 51 per cent of viewers have purchased a game directly after seeing it featured on a stream.
The viewership is changing as well, with SuperData reporting that women now make up 46 per cent of the gaming video content audience. With more and more people tuning in, gaming livestreams are gradually replacing primetime TV viewing, too, with 27 per cent watching most often during weekday evenings. On average, eSports and livestream viewers are also watching over four hours of content per week.
"Gaming Video Content represents a highly desirable market to advertisers due to the fact that its audience is young, tech-savvy and willing to spend money,” says Carter Rogers, research manager at SuperData Research.
Companies who do not advertise to GVC viewers risk missing potential customers as they turn to streams over legacy media. With a global audience that reaches more viewers than HBO, Netflix, ESPN and Hulu combined, brands could be losing out on the next primetime viewing activity, not unlike TV or sports viewing at their peaks.”