Riot Games has expanded its partnership with data and measurement firm Nielsen to implement a new viewership system for the LCS.
Dubbed “live+,” the measure system will measure video on demand (VOD) viewership “more accurately than ever before”, according to a release.
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Riot Games announced a partnership with Nielsen in June last year to help clarify the return on investment available through sponsorship of League of Legends broadcasts. Towards the end the year, the developer stated that those statistics showed that the LCS was the third most popular professional sports league among those aged 18-34 in the United States.
Now, Riot Games and Nielsen are developing an esports-first broadcast metric labelled “live+” for the LCS. live+ ratings will still use the key “industry standard” metric that was utilised last year, average minute audience (AMA). However, on-demand and replay videos will also be used to calculate total audience figures. The metric mirrors Nielsen’s live+ TV ratings, which include a designated time window of on-demand viewership alongside live audience to present engagement figures.
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Matthew Archambault, Head of Esports Partnerships and Business Development for North America at Riot Games, said the deal would help progress the industry: “Nielsen is spearheading great innovation in the esports space and LCS is honored to be a partner in this unprecedented effort. Reliable, accurate viewership data and analytics are critical to anyone in media, and Nielsen’s methodologies, demonstrated through traditional broadcast media, are the gold standard.
“We’re excited to be able to bring these insights to our LCS partners and the larger community, further defining the engagement of our fans and that of the esports community.”
One of the unique insights that live+ will provide is a direct way to compare live and time-shifted televised content, which Riot Games claims is a first for the industry. The company also states that its preliminary tracking from the 2019 season shows double-digit growth in LCS viewership through VODs.
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Nicole Pike, Managing Director, Nielsen Esports, also commented on the agreement: “We’re excited to continue to drive new ways of understanding esports fans’ content consumption, and looking at LCS viewership through the lens of live+ audience data is another key step in these efforts. Building on the foundational AMA metric that Riot Games has quickly adopted, we are now working with the LCS team to understand how time-shifted viewing plays into League of Legends fans’ experience — and how it expands the audience Riot can reach with its content.”
Esports Insider says: A common criticism of esports viewership figures comes down to the lack of an industry standard of measurement. With further innovation in the field, Nielsen and Riot Games look to be closing in on a metric that can provide the most value to sponsors and tournament organisers alike.