Viewer research powerhouse Nielsen launches esports division

Esports will get in-depth viewer statistics and analysis.

Photo via Turner Sports

Television industry giant Nielsen has opened an esports division for the very first time.

Nielsen will provide “sponsorship valuation, fan insights, custom industry research and consulting services” to companies for the esports marketplace. Nielsen might be best known for its TV ratings, but it also advises multi-billion dollar clients such as Coca-Cola, CBS, Disney, or Nestlé.

“There’s a high demand for reliable, independent measurement of value in esports,” says Howard Appelbaum, Nielsen Entertainment President. “We’re excited to enhance our client offerings and provide the industry with solutions that will help guide and optimize investment decisions in this exciting, growing space.”

In the mass media entertainment industry, success is often measured in attention. The more eyeballs the better. That’s especially true in esports, with sponsorship money still being the main driver of the industry. Spectator sports, first and foremost, need spectators.

Without independent measurement, however, event organizers and organizations tend to blow up their figures. And while esports market researchers such as Newzoo or SuperData do a good job providing industry insights, Nielsen works on a completely different level. The company has more than 40,000 employees in over 100 countries. It’s listed on the New York Stock Exchange, reported a revenue of $6.3 billion in 2016, and currently sits among Standard & Poor’s 500, one of the most important stock market indices. 

Nielsen has done some one-off work in the esports industry before. RFRSH Entertainment, the agency behind Astralis and GODSENT, hired them to provide insights about its campaign with Audi.

Nielsen’s esports advisory board includes representatives from some of the biggest names in esports, including ESL, Activision Blizzard, and Turner Sports.