At various points during reading this you’ll probably think that I’m a massive nerd. That’s fine, I accepted it long ago. I’m comfortable with it. So with that out of the way….
I was watching a documentary about professional video gamers the other day. It was interesting and bewildering in equal measure – a secret other realm in which people don’t finish games of Call of Duty with a 1 kill, 22 deaths score (I was tired, sitting at a funny angle to the TV and I think the batteries in my controller were dying).
During this documentary (which is still on iPlayer by the way), there was a fascinating section on the video game streaming service Twitch. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Twitch, you need to start getting familiar with it. Especially if you work in or around (cc Andy Townsend) digital media.
Check out these stats and you’ll see what I mean.
So whether you think streaming and watching people playing video games is weird or not is irrelevant. It’s massive, and getting bigger.
And the big thing for me here is how it essentially cuts out the middle man. The content creators become the broadcasters and the viewers completely and totally pick their own schedules. It’s time-shifted viewing on steriods.
Just think of how this model could affect the landscape of all broadcast media in future, and of sport in particular. Will the traditional broadcasters still hold all of the cards, still control the access to the viewer and will the rights deals of the future still look the same? How will the balance of power shift? And how will this differ down the “tiers” of sports properties – including sports, leagues and individual clubs (or even athletes)?
I don’t know. Stop asking me. All I do know is that anyone who isn’t at least thinking of this new future should be feeling, well, twitchy.