Gamers’ Influence on TV Programming Growing

(Image credit: HBO)

LONDON—Although it runs counter to logic, video gamers actually spend more time and money on video streaming than non-gamers, according to a new report by MIDiA Research, which cites the recent success of HBO’s TV adaptation of the popular video game “The Last of Us” to argue that SVOD companies should cater more to gamers. 

As of Q4 2022, 67% of consumers identify as gamers, spending an average of 8.8 hours per month on streaming TV shows and movies, compared to 6.9 hours for non-gamers. Gamers spend more on video streaming, with an average monthly spend of $12.60, compared to $9.50 for non-gamers. This makes gamers a disproportionately important segment in the SVOD landscape, and their preferences should be considered in the commissioning and storytelling strategies of video streaming services, the researcher said.

One of the key insights from the research is that coordinating episodic releases of TV adaptations alongside game releases, such as downloadable content (DLC) or new game seasons, can turn competition between video and games into synergy. This approach can lead to increased engagement, potential uplift in users and average revenue per user (ARPU), and better retention of gamers—the largest and most valuable entertainment segment of video streaming's user base.

MIDiA says “The Last of Us” series, produced by PlayStation Productions, has been a prime example of a successful TV adaptation that closely replicated the original game's essence, resonating with fans, and its research suggests that replicating the original game title more closely in TV adaptations can be a winning strategy due to the sheer number of gamers who now subscribe to video services.

Karol Severin, lead games analyst and co-founder of MIDiA Research, stated, "Given the value and the number of gamers among video subscribers, it makes sense to have TV adaptations of games replicate the original title more closely than ever before, as demonstrated by the successful case of ‘The Last of Us.’ Expect a lot more of this in the coming months."

Tim Mulligan, lead video analyst and co-founder of MIDiA Research, emphasised the need for SVOD services to understand their gamer user base's specific preferences to cater to them effectively.

"The overall gamer segment illustrates an opportunity for SVOD services to commission TV show adaptations of games and for the TV shows to remain closely tied to the original game” Mulligan. “However, to activate this effectively, it is crucial for SVOD services to dive deeper into the gamer preferences of their specific userbase."

The research also suggests that game developers, publishers, and distributors can benefit from increased brand awareness, engagement, and sales uplift through cross-promotion of the IP as a TV show. This can rekindle interest in older games and unlock hype for DLCs, game seasons, and in-game purchases, presenting a valuable marketing opportunity for the gaming industry, MIDiA added.

Perry Gresham, forecast and modelling analyst for MIDiA Research, commented, "Gamers are arguably the key segment for the video industry. They represent a super-majority of the user base for all primary SVOD services and eclipse non-gamers for most video consumption behaviours, including number of paid subscriptions and time spent watching SVOD.” 

Ben Woods, video analyst for MIDiA Research, said: “Gaming companies producing shows based on their IP may ultimately decide to cut out the middleman—the TV and movie studios—and make exclusive series and movies for their own subscription services.”

Sam Griffin, research associate for MIDiA Research, said: “In the peak attention era, the TV show format works. Unlike a movie, a TV show episode is much more suited to viewing on a commute, for example. It offers greater ability for games IP holders to generate incremental revenues and brand engagement—particularly important for story-driven games that do not offer in-game purchasing.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.