Industry Experts at EES: Data Drives Engagement, ROI in eSports and Gaming

Although data helps develop relationships with brands and influencers to their core audiences, it also connects the dots to the broader ecosystem or platform of the game experience, according to a panel of CEOs who spoke 21st Sept at the Entertainment Evolution Symposium (EES).

During the Sports/eSports breakout panel session “How Data Drives Engagement and ROI in Esports and Gaming,” they discussed the evolution of data and its application within eSports and gaming.

Datawisp is a “no-code data platform for mostly gaming and Web3,” according to Mo Hallaba, the company’s CEO.

“It’s a way for anybody to look at data, analyse it and draw insights from it without needing to code in any way, he said, explaining: “So if you’re a marketing intern or regular business person, or just someone who prefers a no-code interface, you can use data to do business intelligence type stuff without code.”

Before Datawisp, Hallaba was COO at a company called StatsHelix that he said “built essentially data tools for eSports and gaming, and we did everything from training tools for eSports professionals to broadcasting [and] data visualisations for spectators.”

“On the broadcasting side, we actually have software that is used by a couple of the major eSports broadcasters that does highlight automatically based on data,” Hallaba pointed out, explaining: “It actually has a feed of events coming in and it automatically knows when kills happen or when certain events happen and cuts up the video to create this so that a replay operator can just” click a button to show content.”

He added: “Mainly we’ve been focusing on using data in the past for enhancing eSports experiences. We’re also working with game studios on using data to make their games better.” The company is working with a AAA publisher currently, he said, without identifying the company.

Eric Yoon, founder and CEO of Esports TV, a 24/7 live linear and Advertising Video On Demand (AVOD) eSports streaming service, recalled that the company launched in May 2019. It is now broadcasting in more than 100 countries through smart TVs from TV makers including Hisense, LG, Samsung and Vizio, as well as “all” of the over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms, he said.

“We use the data to make sure that we programme the content correctly and that we discover where the content, where the programming are doing well, on which date of the week and a time so that we can utilise that for our advertisement revenue as well as [a] sponsorship.”

“We continue to develop additional content and we aggregate content, and we have” about 150 different content partners throughout the world, he added.

Data, meanwhile, “has become one of the most important parts of what we do and how we track and scale and price everything,” according to Ryan Morrison, CEO of talent agency Evolved and founding partner of Los Angeles, California-based law firm Morrison Rothman.

“I was kind of figuring this industry out alongside the eSports players, alongside the creators,” Morrison recalled. “And I understood the law more than the business of what we were doing. But now I own the law firm on one hand, and we were the first law firm to help players in eSports and things like that. We’ve done countless contracts at this point but I’ve also opened [the] Evolved Talent agency, which represents most of the top streamers on Twitch and a lot of the top eSports players. And, as a result, that agency model requires a ton of data to figure out who’s sellable and where and how everything looks.”

Moderator Gary Kleinman, co-founder of Skinz.gg, a maker of wellness products targeted at gamers, and founder of media production company WHAM Network, asked the panelists what the key is to the data they’re looking for.

Yoon responded: “We know exactly who’s watching and how many minutes they stay on to watch it. And then what are the sessions and what are the unique viewers.” He added: “The data is the currency for us,” explaining it’s what allows his company to charge clients the rates it does for advertising.

The Entertainment Evolution Symposium (EES) was presented by the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Institute for Entertainment, Media and Sports (IEMS) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) and was sponsored by Iron Mountain, Signiant, Whip Media, Atos, Fortinet, FPT Software, invenioLSI, Perforce, Vision Media, and EIDR.