E-sports is a rapidly growing field online, as evidenced by the appearance of the DOTA 2 International on ESPN3 in July. Still, e-sports alone may not be enough to draw users to a streaming platform, so MLG.tv has decided to try out star power by striking a deal with YouTube’s biggest name: PewDiePie.
Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, is launching a new podcast series called BroKen, which will stream on MLG.tv before it is loaded anywhere else. Users who were upset when Kjellberg turned off YouTube comments will be able to watch BroKen live, and use the site’s chat feature to interact. But this move is much more about MLG than it is about PewDiePie.
In an era of cross-platform promotion, nothing on the Internet is truly exclusive. Many articles about the deal talk about the exclusivity of BroKen appearing on MLG; however, once the video is done, it will likely be archived on YouTube, as the first episode has.
MLG’s purpose in creating this partnership is to bring big name personalities to its network, beyond e-sports players. For 12 years, MLG has been hosting events that pit the world’s top players against one another, and since 2012, MLG.tv has been helping the company generate ever-greater profits.
But as displayed by the confusion of ESPN3 viewers, e-sports isn’t necessarily the greatest draw. With his huge subscriber count, PewDiePie is undoubtedly a draw, which could ultimately result in an expanded MLG.tv audience.
“Our vision for MLG.tv is to make it the home for premium content and producers like PewDiePie and his show BroKen,” MLG’s VP of programming, Ryan Wyatt told Variety. “This type of programming deal with PewDiePie, one of the biggest stars in digital media, is a great example of the premier talent we have joining the growing MLG.tv line-up.”
The deal is beneficial for MLG because it allows them to diversify into more casual content, and beneficial for content creators because it gives them a greater distribution network. However in a diversified Internet, it’s difficult to keep any content exclusive.