Veteran esports journalist Richard Lewis has produced a video discussing the current state of esports journalism.
The video comes in the aftermath of Slingshot Esports’ closure. Featuring a roster of highly respected journalists, Slingshot were best known for high-quality content, producing narrative and analytical features, insightful interviews and investigative reports. Regrettably, it was recently announced that Slingshot would be closing down
due to a lack of funding.
Richard Lewis is among the most prominent and veteran journalists in esports. Over the course of his career he has worked as both a reporter and an editor at a variety of publications, and has been responsible for breaking some of esports’ most notorious stories. Today, he acts as a host for Turner’s ELeague, but still maintains his journalistic work through his personal website and YouTube channel. On the topic of esports journalism, there are few, if any, who can speak with greater authority.
The video addressed various aspects of digital journalism, both on a wider scale and specifically in the context of esports. Lewis touched on the difficulties of producing revenue to fund independent journalism while simultaneously trying to avoid having that journalism potentially influenced by commercial interests.
Perhaps one of the key points of the video, however, was a tangent where he revealed that pay-per-view is the likely future for esports events and content.
At present you can watch major events for CS:GO, LoL, Call of Duty etc via the likes of free services such as Twitch, but Richard Lewis predicts a very different future.
“I’ve said this for years, this isn’t new. I told people pay-per-view was gonna be coming in esports, and everyone’s mad, and resistant to the idea. Pay-per-view should come to esports, guys, I’m telling you, and if you’re against it you’re in for a bad f***ing time. Because salaries are up, jobs are up, production value is up, reach is up. There’s all these people watching, and no-one’s paying. We’ve got venture-capital firms investing. That’s basically throwing money at something, maybe we sell it later or maybe it gets profitable. That means for it to be profitable, it has to have a revenue stream. What do you think the revenue stream will be folks? Pay-per-view.”
“We get too much high-quality content for free. I don’t know how to break it to you, that can’t continue."
He went on to discuss the community’s attitude towards content in general, including defining the frequently misused term “clickbait”, discussing the use of ad-block, and some of the common misconceptions regarding how the business of digital media operates.
The video is well worth watching in its entirety, providing a candid look at some of the challenges facing the industry from the perspective of both content creators and consumers.