A new SuperData report has found that the audience for gaming video content (GVC) has reached 665 million people, outstripping even the biggest legacy media outlets.
As the report notes, people playing video games has collective viewership that is more than Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and ESPN combined.
According to Superdata, YouTube's GVC audience towers above Twitch, with 517 million and 185 million viewers respectively. The highest audience in legacy media is HBO with 134 million subscribers.
"It's an audience that will be ignored by brands and advertisers only to their detriment," the report suggests. "While the 'why would anyone want to watch someone else play video games?' sentiment continues to exist among those behind the curve, the smartest publishers, advertisers, and brands are recognizing that their consumers are now, simply put, watching videos of people playing games."
This year ads and direct consumer spending is expected to push GVC earnings to $4.6 billion. As a point of comparison, GVC earnings exceed those from association football leagues like Bundesliga ($3.5 billion) and La Liga ($3.2 billion).
The reasons people watch GVC vary, but even among the most competitive minded gamers there are some interesting trends. While 56% of them typically watch GVC to learn more about a game they already play, 60% also watch for entertainment purposes, and 76% watch to learn more about a title they are interested in playing.
"Gaming video content is a must for publishers," the report commented. "Digital viewing is a valuable outreach tool for publishers, since two in three viewers watch gaming content to learn more about a title they want to play."
Additional findings were that the current viewer base is 46% female, and has an average income of $58,000 in the US.
"The young, tech-savvy consumers are leading the 'cord-cutting' charge, and they are watching GVC instead of primetime TV," the report concluded. "Companies that do not build relationships with these viewers now risk losing the next generation of high-spending consumers."
A precis of the report can be found here.