On the 14th of July, Riot Games announced their official confirmation of the 2018 MSI viewership count.
Last month, China’s Royal Never Give Up upset Korea’s Kingzone DragonX in a 3-1 victory. With Kingzone losing despite being highly favored to be the tournament champions, the ‘apparent’ viewership skyrocketed. Immediately coming out of MSI, Riot had seen and was credited with having over 127 million peak concurrent viewers.
While they would have loved to celebrate the 127 million count, Riot believed they had the responsibility to share the most accurate viewership metrics the best way they can. Riot Games has informed us: “This year we wanted to provide more background on how we check and share viewership.”.
Below will outline the process Riot Games took to accurately calculate the ‘real’ viewer count for the 2018 MSI.
• Figuring out how and where the data was inflated
Due to the multiple third-party data scraping tools people were using, it created an inflated number of concurrent viewers. In addition, streaming platforms have different philosophies on which metrics they choose to make publicly accessible. The platforms have a lot of diversity in what they report. This could be live concurrent viewers, stream popularity scores, or aggregate unique viewers (total number of unique visitors in a single time frame). Inevitably, the data becomes, in one way or another, inaccurate.
• How to calculate the ‘correct’ viewership numbers
Riot explains: "The 2018 MSI was streamed in over 15 languages, across 14 digital platforms and broadcast on 2 television channels.". It took Riot Games’ partners several days to collect more dependable data to examine and share with Riot. Because the data is reliable and comparable to the database Riot Games has to offer, the validity of each report increases.
According to Riot Games, there are several steps before a verification process can begin. The first step consists of cross-checking the different reports for basic math.
(Credited to Riot Games)
¤ Total Views must be greater than Unique Views.
¤ Peak Concurrent Viewers must be greater than Average Concurrent Viewers.
¤ Unique Views must be greater than Peak Concurrent Viewers.
¤ Hours divided by Average Concurrent Viewers must be close to the Daily Broadcast Hours
Next, Riot made a comparison with their internal forecasts. This essentially is asking the question of how many possible League of Legends Esports viewers there could be for an event. This data is then compared to the data of the total reported viewers Riot had received from their partners.
For the final steps, Riot reviews over how many players are actively playing League, how many people watch alternative Esports events, and how many people tune into League streams.
Throughout this whole process, Riot will fire back any inconsistencies between the viewership data they received and Riot’s own internal forecasts to Riot’s platform partners. Riot clarifies by saying “Our focus here is understanding what lead to any outliers and adjusting our results based on new information obtained. After we go through this process, we arrive at a number we can comfortably share with the world.”
• The result
So what does all this data analysis lead to? Riot revealed that the number they had seen was over 4 times what it was last year. The final estimated number of concurrent viewers for the 2018 MSI was shown to be hitting 19.8 million and 60 million unique viewers. Riot explained that this vast increase was a result of scheduling that made MSI accessible to larger audiences, new platforms carrying the broadcast, and new methods that drove awareness of the event up.
Riot expressed their gratitude towards the community by saying “We want to thank you for making MSI 2018 the most watched MSI ever and look forward to seeing what records you’ll break at Worlds 2018!”.
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