US analytics firm Nielsen, who is best known for the TV ratings and consumer market studies, has published its first report on esports, following the launch of its Esport24 tracker.
The ‘Nielsen’s Esports Playbook’ published today looks at the esports audience demographics, specifically looking at viewing behaviours and a general consensus on various esports marketing concerns such as sponsorships. The report takes the approach of positing theories and then expands on the theory using the collected data from four countries the US, the UK, France and Germany.
The biggest point is the revelation that while esports isn’t all typically able to be characterised as ‘millennial males’. 7 in 10 fans are male and will stream esports content more than their female counterparts. It’s not all one-sided though as 1 in 4 female fans do stream weekly.
Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are the most popular games played by esports fans but the esports games do show some interesting audience differences. The majority of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive fans are male, with 90 per cent of them representing the total gender divide but FIFA has the highest number of female fans with 32 per cent. This data was part of five games collected from the report, which also included Overwatch, League of Legends, Dota 2.
Another topic from the report is a deep dive into how esports content is consumed. The report found that while 65 per cent of esports fans watch a live stream of an esports event online, only 16 per cent actually attend an event. It also concludes that esports fans still enjoy traditional sports with the dominant sport in every country still getting the interest of at least half of the fans surveyed. Soccer, for example, still holds the interest of 59 per cent of UK esports fans.
Another interesting conclusion is that esports fans only spend 2.4 hours a week participating in esports activities (including watching events and competing), while traditional media like TV and streaming entertainment services like Netflix hold 4.3 and 3.5 hours per week respectively. Playing games still takes the most attention with esports fans spending 8.2 hours per week playing video games.
The report is good news for the corporate interest in esports as less than 10 per cent of esports fans think brand involvement is a negative thing. But it is noted, however, that brands endemic to gaming are much preferred (such as technology, snack food and soft drinks companies) compared to companies that represent financial products or alcohol for example.
The future of esports is also discussed with only 28 per cent of esports fans surveyed believing that it should be an Olympic sport. Viewing of esports has also been a big discussion recently, especially with the advent of VR, however, only 5 per cent of esports fans actually own a VR device with over 69 per cent of fans undecided if they will invest in it.
You can read the full report by visiting Nielsen’s website here.