Growing esports video viewing could cause big disruption and fractionalism of traditional media in the next few years, according to one media analyst.
Laura Martin, media analyst at Needham & Company, wrote that traditional media, including TV, radio and magazines, will see erosion of younger viewers 18-25 moving more to esports platforms.
These video games' competitions are where participants compete in front of a live audience, as well as being streamed. Esport competitions are also televised on a number of traditional TV networks.
Martin, in speaking to CNBC on Thursday, said significant cannibalization will occur in the next three to five years. It will come from young gamers playing -- and watching -- competitions.
“One of three kids under the age of 25 is spending an hour a day playing video games. And for every hour you play, you are watching another hour,” she said.
Prize money competition continues to grow. A recent winner of the first Fortnite World Cup competition won $3 million. Martin also says there are “a hundred universities giving varsity scholarships to go to college by playing video games. And they get to keep their winnings.”
Estimates are that streaming and other viewing of esports totals 450 million global viewers, says Martin.
It is not just traditional media that could be in danger of losing audiences -- but also existing and new OTT digital video business. “It’s a problem for all these over-the-top services,” she says.
If that isn’t enough, she adds, growing legalized sports gambling in many states could add to more esports playing and viewing.