Facebook is hiring video game teams and other eSports organizations to create live and on-demand videos for its newsfeed. The company aims to take on others such as Twitch and YouTube, where most of the eSports' content is typically housed.
Facebook signed contracts with five different teams to publish a minimum number of hours for its site. The goal is to have the videos be longer and more polished than your average Twitter clip. Facebook wants to draw in captive audiences who are willing to turn on the sound, rather than just scroll through short video clips like on Twitter.
According to Business Insider, eSports caters to a target demographic — young and affluent males. This is an audience which advertisers and Facebook consider hard to reach.
The push for more eSports content falls into Facebook's broader video strategy. Facebook is directly financing TV-like programming across a range of genres, such as science, lifestyle, and more, in a bid to promote its video tab, boost viewership, and expand revenue on its platform.
After Amazon acquired Twitch for nearly $1 billion in 2014, the live streaming video platform continues to be the leader in broadcasts for online gaming. Facebook sees Twitch as competition, but Twitch isn't the only one.
Twitter is also getting ready to offer more eSports content, which means this is a great opportunity for Facebook to jump on a growing trend before it becomes saturated in mainstream noise.
Although, for Facebook, competition never really seems to be an option for the social media giant. If Twitch has something that Facebook wants, then Facebook won't hesitate to try and snatch the same market. It's not unlike the company to swipe a feature from another app to beat them out of their own game.
It's understandable why Facebook would want to capitalize on the market that Twitch and eSports countered. Business Insider reports that about 300 million people tune into eSports content:
And financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.
That's not only a $1 billion opportunity for eSports, but for Facebook as well.