Nielsen Media Research, established by market analyst Arthur Nielsen, has become the definitive rating system for television since expanding into that market in the 50s. Now, they’re widening their scope and taking on the gaming world with the newly formed Nielsen Esports.
Reported by ESPN, Nielsen’s Esports analytics platform will be tracking growth and engagement for sponsors and advertisers. A byproduct of this will be a defined impact for those that question the staying power or longevity of esports.
"There's a high demand for reliable, independent measurement of value in esports," Howard Appelbaum, the president of Nielsen Entertainment, said in a statement to ESPN.
If you’ve ever casually kept track of television shows and the cancellations and renewals of various series, chances are you’ve read or heard “Nielsen ratings” mentioned. A show will live or die largely by the numbers those ratings reveal and esports entities can expect the partnerships with sponsors and advertisers to be heavily influenced by this new division. Esports seems to be experiencing massive growth for now but, as things start to level out, not all rating results will be rosy.
"The global, digital and young nature of esports fan base audience represents advertising's most highly sought after segment, yet consistent and high-quality data has been a challenge to measure and define," said Craig Levine, the CEO of ESL in North America.
ESPN, who took a step back in their esport coverage after losing Heroes of the Dorm to Facebook, is a part of the advisory board for Nielsen Esports along with ESL, Facebook, FIFA, Major League Gaming, the NBA 2K League, Sony PlayStation, Turner Broadcasting, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, and others. Last year yielded info that showed that Twitch streams influenced the sales of games. It will be interesting to see if esport events have a similar impact on games, especially with 24-hour esport channels in the mix.