'TV broadcasters need to wake up to eSports'

Tournament host Gfinity questions whether growing tech trend really needs big traditional broadcasters
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UK eSports tournament provider Gfinity says big traditional TV broadcasters need to wake up and recognise how popular competitive gaming is with today's youth.

Speaking at a panel session at Intel's showing of eSports documentary 'All Work All Play' yesterday evening, Paul Chaloner, head of broadcasting at Gfinity and host of past tournaments including Intel Extreme Masters, said: "Do we really need those big TV broadcasting deals anymore?

"Years back, News International invested heavily into a league, a championship gaming live TV series and spent as much as $30 million in an 18 month period - and it failed. Probably because it was too early back in 2007 or 2008. 

"I don't want to dismiss mainstream TV, they're very important to us in terms of getting the message out, but I'm not sure broadcasters are the end goal."

Chaloner said that looking at how demographics have changed is key to understanding how to grow eSports in the UK and beyond.

"We have to take a look back on the last two to three years, and look at the demographic," he added.

"For 16 to 35 year olds in general, if you look at the demographics for them, in eSports 92 per cent of them are watching on Twitch - they're watching online.

So you have to ask the question: Why [do we need big TV broadcasters]? 

"The answer is today's youth want to watch what they want, when they want to watch it and where they want to watch it. They don't want to be dictated to.

"They don't want to sit down at 7 o' clock on a Thursday evening because Star Wars is on for the only time and you won't see it again for another 18 months! 

"So they just don't need to do that anymore. And we're at the cutting edge of [eSports broadcasting]. Because we've been trailblazing this for the last 10 or 15 years, we've learnt what our customers want.

"And TV probably needs to wake up to that."

Check out our previous interview with Team Dignitas boss Michael O'Dell about the future of UK eSports

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