Broadcast exclusivity wont bring 30-40% more revenue

Opinion - Broadcast exclusivity wont bring 30-40% more revenue 

Dota 2 is a fantastic game and one of the coolest things about it has been the community streams during all big events. Streamers like Gorgc and AdmiralBulldog add more value and variety for people to choose how to enjoy games. These streams are not casted properly, it’s just these guys watching the games (usually of their own organisations) and having more like a watch party with their viewers. Wednesday 13th of May, after seeing a few tweets from the TI3 champion Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg I felt like it’s time to participate in this topic a little bit. 

Kyle Freedman, an ex Dota 2 pro now turned into a commentator/esports talent, held an interesting monologue during WePlay Pushka! -stream (https://clips.twitch.tv/EnjoyableKindSardineDogFace). The idea behind non-exclusivity has been there to “protect smaller streamers” according to Freedman. After that he blatantly claims that “Huge personalities with massive followings, that are doing very well for themselves, consistently stream and cast every single day of a tournament”. As a tip of the iceberg, Kyle starts by saying that the organisers are missing out on 30-40% of revenue because of these community streams, and that’s where he, in my opinion, dives into darkness with his claims. 

Community streams do not cannibalize from main streams 

Now, let’s start by saying that Kyle Freedman's comments are directly meant for streamers such as Gorgc from OG and AdmiralBulldog who represents Alliance. Both of the names mentioned are streamers who get up to 10k viewers during their streams quite often actually, whether they are playing themselves or just hosting watch parties. Vast majority of people watching these individuals are watching the streams because of the streamer, not for what they are playing/watching. If something, these streamers are bringing new people to the game which ultimately is a benefit for everyone. 

Let’s say that there are 10 000 people watching Admiral Bulldogs watch party of whatever Dota 2 tournament, I would honestly estimate that 8-9k of those would not watch the main broadcasts of the tournament, they are enjoying their favourite streamers content and the tournament is just a bonus on the top. You can’t assume that someone having 10k viewers on their personal stream would be cannibalizing high percentages of the revenue and make a 1+1 equation based on that gut feeling. World does not work that way. There is no universe where you can just blatantly expect that every single viewer from a well established streamer would be a potential viewer of the tournament feed. If anything these streamers are adding value and at the same time promoting the event, for free. Yes, it is true that streamers benefit from it, that’s obvious, but it’s ludicrous to claim that they would be eating 30-40% of the revenue. 

Some answers to AdmiralBulldogs tweets: 

 

There are quite a lot of people like these two individuals. People wouldn't know that some of these tournaments are on-going without these streamers. 

League of Legends opens community streams for major events 

So, just to prove a point here, Dota 2 has been a flagship when it comes to including the community in these events in a way that other games have not been able to do, which has been the community streams. Riots League of Legends leagues have been under very strict broadcasting rules and only the official broadcasts have been streaming the games live. However, that has changed. In 2019 Riot ran a pilot for allowing Riot Partners to stream Rift Rivals games as community streams with the idea of these streamers being able to bring more new people to follow the game. It was such a success that they continued that with the Spring Split in 2020 and then continued with “We appreciate the patience of streamers not included in these groups as we need to continue to test co-streaming in order to open it up to additional streamers in the future”. 

So Riots Games with League of Legends, which is arguably the biggest esports title out there, is now following the example that Valve has set with Dota 2 and it’s community streams. Why on earth would you sabotage that? 

Conclusion 

I do understand where Mr. Freedman is coming from with this, but the reality is not as black and white as he claims it to be. If you make broadcasting rights exclusive you might boost the overall viewership in the main broadcasts by a few thousand, but at the same time you would get an outlash from the communities that lose their watch parties. You could potentially end up with thousands of people boycotting events just because these masses want to support the personalities they are following. Majority of the viewers from streamers such as Gorgc and AdmiralBulldog would still be watching their streamers. The content just wouldn’t be the Dota 2 tournaments which would ultimately hurt the scene more, than it would bring revenue to the organiser / broadcast rights owner. 

At the end of the day, the game is owned by Valve, and the rules are set by Valve. So these comments towards these certain streamers is uncalled for and the feedback should be sent to Valve. Confronting these streamers on live broadcast seems like a call for drama. 

Teemu Maarela image

Teemu Maarela

13 May 2020
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