Report: 2.4 billion hours of esports video watched in 2013

A new report says that 2.4 billion hours of esports was consumed in 2013, with estimates to rise to 6.6 billion by 2018.

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This article was originally published on GameSpot's sister site onGamers.com, which was dedicated to esports coverage.

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In April, Super Data Research and Newzoo released a report stating that over 70 million people watched esports content in 2013.

Now a new report from IHS Technology states that 2.4 billion hours of esports video was consumed in 2013, nearly doubling that of 2012, and is expected to rise to 6.6 billion by 2018. The report says League of Legends was the most watched game in the world in 2013, followed by Dota 2 and StarCraft 2.

The report also says that globally China is the largest market for online esports viewing, followed by the United States and South Korea. More than 70% of all esports viewing was Online, with the remainder on traditional TV.

“Esports videos have rapidly transformed from a niche activity into a widely-watched, global, cross-platform entertainment category,” said Dan Cryan, senior director, digital media research for IHS. “Several factors are contributing to the surge in esports viewing. These include the fact that key game titles have reached maturity and game publishers are taking a major role in promoting esports competitions. Furthermore, esports viewing has been boosted by the emergence of online video platforms that are capable of handling large-scale live audiences.”

IHS cites a variety of sources including Twitch, Azubu, and MLG, as well as more generalist services like YouTube, Dailymotion and Tencent. IHS highlights Twitch's explosive growth over the last two years, reaching 45 million unique viewers in 2013.

By 2018 IHS expects esports video to be worth $300 million in online advertising revenue per year, globally.

"While advertising in and around games has often proved to be a difficult proposition, advertising in online video is commonplace,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, director, games research at IHS. “This form of advertising gives games companies a much better opportunity of accessing the advertising value chain in a successful and meaningful way and offers these companies a route to profitable return on investment from their esport initiatives."

IHS defines esports video as live and on-demand programming that presents organized gaming competitions. The market also includes content directly related to those events, such as highlights and pre-game shows.

onGamers has reached out to IHS Technology for access to their full in-depth report.

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