DingIt Exec Explains ESports Growth Plans

Livestreaming platform DingIt.tv has built an audience of over 11 million fans through daily eSports programming in high definition. While the livestreaming space is currently dominated by larger companies like Twitch and YouTube, this European startup has focused on 1080p content around games like Starcraft II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Adam Simmons, director of content at DingIt.tv, explains the company s growth strategy and outlines its plans for 2016 in this exclusive interview.

What differentiates DingIt from the many other live streaming companies out there

When we first set out to create DingIt, we aimed to solve some of the issues with livestreaming like the huge running costs, quality issues for users based on their location, and poor performance on mobile. We soon realized we needed to build from the ground up to provide a better technical solution to live HD streams. Working with strategic partners and our own development team, we developed a completely new solution that provides a stable, full HD stream globally. The DingIt platform makes it possible to get 1080p 60 frames per second streams on a global scale, while still reducing the amount of buffering viewers get (by up to 27x) and reducing the bandwidth they need to view. 

As well as the improved viewing experience for gaming audiences, our technology also presents some clear commercial advantages for content creators. DingIt operates at a fraction of the cost of other platforms, which means we can pass these cost benefits on to our content creators. We are able to further improve this position through some innovative tech that prevents both ad blocking and unauthorized re-streaming, creating significant advantages for our advertising partners too. The net effect is that we are able to generate more revenue per viewer, the proceeds for which we are able to reinvest in content and a market-beating revenue share for broadcasters and content creators. 

Who are you targeting with this platform and how are you targeting them

DingIt is an open platform, which means anyone from the biggest events to the most niche streamers are welcome to broadcast, which in turn attracts a broad audience. Long-term our target is anyone who wants to see the best gaming anywhere in the world. We need to provide the right kind of content for our hardcore audience, making sure there is always a route in for lighter gaming fans. Our current focus is on eSports and most of our investment in content is concentrated in this space. Since launching, we have focused on providing consistent daily and weekly eSports events; our primary aim being to generate a sustainable program schedule for our audience, content creators, and pro players. Looking ahead to 2016, we will be growing this investment significantly and we will be announcing how this will take shape in the coming weeks. 

In addition to the creation of eSports events, we are expanding our global operations. One of the key technical benefits of DingIt is our global reach, as viewing experience isn t affected by a viewer s location. As a direct result, we are expanding rapidly into Asia (with the recent launch of dingit.kr) and emerging markets such as South America and China. As a platform, we hope to be able to bring a consistent and quality experience to gamers around the world. Most of the content we create is broadcast with local language commentary in real time, so we are finding it very easy to scale whilst making it possible for pro-players to reach new audiences. 

What type of growth have you seen since launching

We’ve seen incredible growth over the last 10 months, beating our forecasts and exceeding all expectations. Since we launched in open beta back in February, we’ve grown at an average rate of 132 percent per month and we have just hit 11 million uniques in October — a massive achievement and one we are very proud of. 

Do you have any sense of these users coming from competing streaming services or are they new to streaming  

The majority of our viewership is attracted to our eSport events, which are found on multiple community sites and forums. As these viewers are already interested in eSports, we assume that many of them have used other streaming services as well. In addition to our rapid month-on-month growth, we are seeing around 32 percent returning viewers, which means people are coming back to the site to watch more content. We want to make content people enjoy, and returning viewers are one of the biggest indicators it is working.

We produce highlights from all of our content, which is aimed at a more casual gaming audience to start, piquing their interest in competitive gaming. We love eSports and gaming, and there is still a huge untapped market just waiting to experience their first proper event. By producing content for casual gamers as well as our core audience, we hope to bring more young people into gaming.

What role has eSports played in your marketing  

ESports has been our primary viewership driver in 2015. We made the decision early on to invest heavily in eSport events and plan to expand this even further in 2016. Since launching our open beta, we have invested around $250,000 in eSport events; the main aim of this has been sustainable growth. We deliver content daily, rather than investing in one-off or monthly events. This creates an environment where both content creators and pro players are able to generate a consistent income and bring much-needed stability to the market.

How do you choose which games and leagues to focus on

As the newest entrant in the market, we have to balance our investment, between the games that already have a large audience base and exciting new titles that show future potential. We are also fully aware that we are helping fund a community of pro players and fans, and as such feel that we have a duty of care to make sure what we do is sustainable. It s very frustrating to see teams/players/fans committing to an event series for it to be cancelled because it isn t viable over the long term. DingIt will always look to explore content opportunities that work over longer periods, and our technology helps make that possible.

How much audience is out there to tap into given the huge reach of Twitch and the power of YouTube

The gaming audience shows little in the way of brand loyalty. Viewers search for and watch content wherever it is available. One way we are trying to change that is by using our technology to provide higher quality streams for an improved experience, especially outside of the US and Western Europe, where quality on some platforms can be poor. 

The global reach for eSports in 2014 was 100.6 million and is estimated to increase to 188 million in 2015 and 238 million in 2017. As the fastest-growing platform for gaming and eSports in the world right now, we hope to capitalize on this audience explosion — both those new to gaming and those seeking a better gaming experience than on existing platforms.

What type of growth forecast do you have for your company for 2016  

It has been a really exciting year for us and we re looking forward to continuing this strong growth in 2016. We’re keeping exact numbers close to our vest for now, but we fully expect to pull in big audiences searching for higher quality streams with less buffering.

What opportunities do you see your platform opening up for marketers and brands

Having a large team of developers that are extremely smart has meant we have already been able to harness the true potential of programmatic advertising. We built our own ad stack and yield optimization tools, which are proving very effective. But this is just the beginning.

With our technology, DingIt can help brands utilize livestreaming in regions that aren t currently served well by other platforms. Engaging these emerging audiences isn t just for gaming-specific brands either. For example, being the first energy drink associated with eSports in a new market offers huge potential.

Opportunities in western markets are very important, but we are acutely aware that audiences are growing all over the world and we need to plan for this accordingly. To this end, we are bringing in an experienced media team who will create sponsorship opportunities for our brand partners across our new international events series throughout 2016. We see opportunities extending beyond events though, into technology and strategic partnerships and we are incredibly excited to have had such a positive start.

What types of companies have you been working with to date and how do you see that evolving

Whilst gaming is our first love and the thing that gets us up every morning, it is quickly becoming apparent that there are lots of applications for the technology that underpins our platform. From publishers that want to push out video efficiently, to live event streams, to drone video tech, and citizen journalism. Currently, conversations are confined to the partners and players in the gaming space, but we believe there are many more uses for our tech and we are only just scratching the surface.

Our tech and management team have a strong background in network products, and our most important partner is Akamai. Some of our technology is integrated with their network acceleration products. Akamai and DingIt have been working for the last one and a half years to integrate the technologies that underpin the DingIt streaming platform. As a result, at the recent Edge Conference, DingIt was chosen to present as the best consumer facing user case of the new technology, which we were honored to do.


Newzoo Breaks Down Key Trends In The Games Industry

Video games have come a long way, with billions of dollars are spent on new titles each year, and eSports exploding into a global phenomenon.

To further explain just how video gaming has changed over the years, Newzoo has put together a detailed report titled Putting the Video Back Into Video Games: How Games Are Shaping the Future of Media, that breaks down the six key industry trends across three key categories: business innovation, broadcasting technology and community creation. Furthermore, it discusses topics such as looking at games not just as a commodity, but also a service that appeals to hardcore and casual communities alike, and emphasizes the importance of online outreach.

The Business Trends: Games As a Service and Cross-Screen Entertainment

Both games that sell at a retail price or use a free-to-play model have the opportunity to appeal to a large audience where monetization is concerned. The addition of new content, either via DLC or through regular updates, encourages gamers to stick around and see what new items or experiences they can get. Additionally, seasonal content can also be a huge draw, as it has been with the mobile hit Clash of Clans. Opportunistic promotional tie-ins can play a part as well, like the Force Awakens-themed Battle of Jakku map that will be available to Star Wars: Battlefront players starting next week.

“This approach has also moved into the paid game space on console and PC. For example, the recent introduction of silver (a premium currency purchased with real money) into the game Destiny has opened up a revenue stream for Bungie based on cosmetic items that don t affect gameplay,” says the report.

Season passes have also played a part in keeping gamers around, including ones like Batman: Arkham Knight. This not only guarantees long-term commitment to a game, but also promises of fresh content. “The principle driver of games as a service has been the emergence of a fan base that is desperate to play its favorite games. This has resulted in the convergence of the service model between mobile, PC and console games to create truly innovative cross-platform experiences,” the report explains.

Cross-overs can also be beneficial, such as with Bethesda, which launched its mobile hit, the free-to-play Fallout Shelter, as a tie-in for its big holiday moneymaker Fallout 4. “With the former released on mobile in June this year to help tide players over until the latter s release on PC and console in November, it was interesting to see Fallout Shelter s base creation gameplay was closely mirrored in Fallout 4 s sanctuary creator. 

The report continued, “Rather than tying players down to one platform, game developers are leading the way by allowing consumers to access content on demand across platforms, which is essential in today s digital environment.”

The Technology Trends: Creator and Live Streaming Tools, Video Channels and Communities

Online video has become a driving factor in the world of video games, with channels like YouTube and Twitch devoted to programming. Since most broadcasters don’t lean too heavily on content provided by gamers, online serves as an inexpensive avenue for them to create an outlet.

“This has happened in two ways. The first has been the rise of the YouTuber. Releasing edited videos that match the personality and interests of the creator, Youtubers like PewDiePie, NerdCubed and Squid Gaming have tapped into the desire for gaming content among fans (even when they don t play) and offered them short gaming videos on the go,” the report noted. “The second way has been the rise of streaming services such as Twitch for all games and Mobcrush specifically for mobile titles. These services, which allow people to broadcast what is on their devices without specialist technology, have opened up live broadcasting to millions of people and businesses across the world. Viewable on mobile devices, smart TVs, game consoles and PCs, the reach and regularity of livestreams far surpasses television shows, in terms of frequency and availability on a global scale.”

As a result, a new type of consumable media has been created, and many channels, including the ESL Gaming Network, have emerged to grasp such media. It has since become a multi-million dollar business that’s done well without much media coverage, allowing creators to make careers out of what they love in the process. It’s also become lucrative to business partners, since said creators can hype games and earn thousands of dollars from the promotions as a result.

The Consumer Trends: Creation and Involvement, and Consumers Entertaining Consumers

“Rather then relying on companies to create communities for them, fans are growing and perpetuating their own groups, which happen to promote games as a side effect,” says the report. “Minecraft is the best example of this. While Mojang supports the community with the Minecon convention, the legions of guides, the millions of YouTube videos and the high-profile content creators like Stampycat have transformed Minecraft from a game into a global cultural standpoint.”

eSports players have also benefited from creating their own communities, being able to generate strong revenue through both sales of items and promotions of games they play in tournaments. This also changes the game when it comes to community efforts in management, as “the emergence of these communities signals a change from top-down maintenance of control over a brand to a consensual bottom-up conversation among the thousands of fans of a game.”

“As a result, we expect to see brands across digital and broadcast media loosening control of their brands. By creating content based on consumer feedback, working with leading creators to inspire new directions, and supporting fan work with community management, the likes of record labels and license holders will have much to learn from gaming’s organic communities.”

These six trends in all tie in with how digital media companies access and interact with the change of content, the report concluded. “The fact that anyone can, with the help of Twitch or even Periscope, become a broadcaster means that older models need to adapt to retain consumer interest. For the gaming industry, that has meant creating cross-screen content, encouraging creators to film their games in action, and lightly moderating organic communities to grow. And we believe that’s an excellent starting point for other sectors.”

The Immense Growth of Video, Music and Game Streaming Entertainment

If there’s one market that’s managed to rise above expectations for 2015, it’s streaming. From Netflix and its original series (including the vastly popular Jessica Jones) to Twitch and its majority of programming, companies have capitalized on audiences with its programming. 

With that, App Annie said that a number of channels have seen growth not only in the United States, but overseas in China as well, per Ooyala. The overall revenue growth for video streaming has reached more than three times in the U.S. That’s impressive, but it’s risen more than 10 times in China. (The United Kingdom also reports double the growth as well.)

App Annie added that U.S. revenue growth midway through the year was driven by two specific apps: HBO Now and Hulu. As far as what programming is leading the markets, the U.S. benefits highly from movies and TV episodes, while the U.K. relies more on sports leagues. In fact, almost 75 percent of the overall market comes from sports.

Ooyala believes that broadcasters may have to seek new ways to keep traditional viewers around, to prevent the “cord cutting’ that many consumers go through in an attempt to save money.

Also backing up these statistics are numbers from The NPD Group, per IPTV News. Research indicates that by 2018 we’ll see a huge upswing in installed devices that are connected to the Internet, taking advantage of streaming services; 231 million is the estimated count, up from the 127 million reported in 2014, and the 153 million reported this year. That’s an estimated growth of 82 percent in just a few years’ time.

“The two largest drivers of growth will be the increased acceptance of connected televisions in the homes of US consumers, as well as the continued adoption of streaming media players such as those offered by Google, Apple, Roku, and Amazon,” said John Buffone, executive director for The NPD Group.

Out of these devices, connected TVs will show the biggest growth by 37 percent; streaming media players are at 33 percent growth. Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu and HBO Go are expected to stay as popular channels on this front, although, a new video-distribution channel could change how people look at streaming services through TV networks in this same time frame.


Video is just one part of streaming business as we see it today. Music also has a key role, as more subscribers are finding comfort in signing on to services like Pandora and Spotify instead of buying their music – and it’s a practice that isn’t likely to die down anytime soon, if at all.

IFPI reports that over the past year global digital revenues for music streaming channels rose to $6.85 billion, a 6.9 percent increase from the previous year. That includes a similar proportion of revenues from digital channels as physical (both at 46 percent). This is across four of the world’s top 10 markets overall, indicating that it’s found a strong place within the industry.

This could also change with new competitors, as Variety previously reported that Apple could be jumping into the video game with its own programming. It would make sense, considering the plethora of devices that would support it, including the new Apple TV model.

Statista’s chart below breaks down just how big a deal online video is set to become over the next few years, going from a $7.5 billion total in 2014 up to $13.7 billion. Although downloads are a little behind, they too are expected to grow, increasing from $3.7 billion to $5.3 billion.

Chart 1202

This year has changed the landscape quite a bit, with both Apple and YouTube launching devoted music services that have attracted millions of consumers. That should push the estimates of 41 million consumers last year to new heights, as soon as end-of-year numbers are reported.

As a result, record companies have changed a bit with the times, creating a model that provides access to music more than ownership. With that, the general industry now receives around 32 percent of digital revenues from subscription and streaming services, up from 27 percent back in 2013.

Along with new companies joining the fray, older ones are making moves to adapt to the times as well. Last month, Pandora acquired the tech and talent behind Rdio, while Spotify opted to create a new data model that would make it easier to track what artists audiences listen to regularly.

This is an even trickier business with “big dogs” in the industry like Apple, Google and Amazon getting involved, as questions regarding said rights could come into play. However, Pandora is confident that its new business model, build around Rdio’s services for an estimated $9.99 a month, will bring several new options to the table for its listeners.

Tidal has also become a key factor in streaming music. Despite its lack of immediate popularity, it’s winning some listeners over with the promise of exclusive concerts and other events, adding a personable side to the service. (Granted, Apple and other services have also reached out to artists to provide special features for its channels as well.)

Regardless, with so many options available, more listeners should be turning to digital music options, streaming instead of downloads, out of sheer convenience, and the market should continue to grow. Who will profit from it in the long run, however, has yet to be seen – but it looks like companies will be doing their best to keep people from dropping the beat.


Finally, there are the game streaming channels, which have their own fair share of audience members. YouTube Gaming launched earlier this year to impressive numbers, although Twitch continues to be the big breadwinner for this year, as it drew in more than 100 million viewers monthly. Twitch has also diversified its programming, airing artistic-based content and teaming with companies like Old Spice for unique promotions, creating a new flux of viewable content.

Gaming will continue to be a big focus for the company, though, and with the introduction of several new features – all introduced at its first annual TwitchCon a couple of months back – it’s likely to continue expanding into the new year and beyond. 

Competitive eSports will play a big part in that as well, despite some programs taking to television to expand its audience. Speaking with [a]listdaily earlier in the year, Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel explained, “eSports is always getting bigger every year. Five years from now, I believe that gaming will become more recreational, much like what you see with other sports. For example, I’m a tennis player and I play on a league. I believe we’ll have rec leagues for gaming. Gaming and eSports will become more recreational and competitive, event for the casual player who just wants to be a part of a team. It’s the evolution of what we do as eSports players. eSports really is the sport of the 21st century.”

Considering its popularity not only on mobile and desktop devices, but also game consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Twitch should continue to be a valuable asset as far as the streaming game is concerned. But what about YouTube Well, considering it’s drawing a pretty hefty audience, it’s not likely to lose ground either.

So what does this mean overall Well, there’s a substantial demand for streaming content across the board, whether it’s watching live tournaments, listening to music on the go (without needing to plug in a player or pop in a CD), or watching programming conveniently through a number of given devices. That demand will likely continue over the next few years, with companies “adapting to the times,” as it were, in an effort to get their own piece of the pie.

The answer definitely lies in the stream.


Techland on Raising the Dead with ‘Dying Light’

After hitting a high note with the cooperative zombie shooting game, Dead Island, the development studio Techland decided to independently take on an even bigger project. That game turned out to be Dying Light, and in it, players could free run across an huge quarantined city to scavenge supplies, craft weapons, and do everything they can to survive against the undead hordes. Or, they could play as zombies that become supercharged once the sun goes down, to hunt down the remainder of the living population.

The game released in January, and despite heavy competition from games like Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Dying Light broke records and defied expectations by selling over 5 million copies in its first six months. It was among the top 10 bestselling video games for the first half of 2015, and a major expansion called The Following will release early next year.

Paul Milewski[a]listdaily spoke to Paul Milewski, PR Manager and Marketing Coordinator at Techland, about fighting zombie hordes and what it takes to independently promote an exceptional game.

What was your reaction to Dying Light‘s success

Dying Light’s success caught us quite off guard. We always felt we had a good game but when you work that closely on something for so many years it’s easy to forget. So to anyone who helped make this game our biggest success to date, thank you so much!

What sets Dying Light apart from other zombie-themed shooters

A lot, actually. Our natural movement system is something that has never really done in first-person action games on this level. Our dynamic day and night cycle that totally changes how the game reacts and how you play makes it seems like it’s 2 types of games in 1. Then there is our creative brutality and combat which is focused primarily on melee fighting plus our open world design set in a region and style that not many games would normally consider using as their sole location. Then add in the ability to take on all the above with up to 4 friends is seamless co-op.

What was the most effective way to get the word out about Dying Light

A lot of the promotional material we make is from a fan-first point of view, so our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter primarily) is where almost everything we do will get pumped into at the same time as it’s released to the general public.

Dying Light released last January. How have you been able to keep players interested in the game for the year leading up to The Following expansion

Since the release of the game we’ve done tons of post launch support. Free updates like new a difficulty level, new challenge missions, new weapons etc. We’ve engaged with our fans with custom challenges or special one day events where we tweak the in-game settings for 24 hours. We’ve also been hard at work on big add-ons. The biggest being this expansion pack Dying Light: The Following, which is a totally new map, an additional storyline and drivable dirt buggies that we’ve designed to be your deadliest weapon yet.

It was recently revealed that The Following expansion is so big that it could have been a standalone game. What went into the decision to still release it as an expansion

We just didn’t want to delay this release anymore. Making a standalone requires a different approach from design right through to distribution. Our fans have been asking for this expansion, and to turn around and say “Wait some more,” just didn’t seem fair.

How different is promoting Dying Light and its expansion from promoting Dead Island and its follow-ups

The promotion of Dying Light is 100 percent in our hands, so we’re able to get a lot more creative on a product we know like the back of our hands.