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Group Stage play at The International last week saw a slight change in audience from last year even though the overall viewership for Dota 2 remained close to the same, as a slide in Russian-language broadcasts was paired with a gain in its English-language counterparts.
Dota 2 is known for having a strong following for its esports from not only an English-language audience, but a Russian-language one as well, and oftentimes, Russian-language broadcasts for tournaments outperform their English-language counterparts on Twitch. So far this year, the English-language broadcast generated stronger audience statistics, though.
From August 14-19, Dota 2’s overall 17.9M hours watched was nearly identical to the 18M hours watched for the same period of time in 2018 when Russian-language coverage of The International led the title’s viewership on Twitch.
With an average of 44K concurrent viewers, the main Russian-language channel for The International coverage produced 3.3M hours watched in 2018. However, this year that figure was down to 2.9M hours watched and an average of 29K CCV.
Meanwhile, the primary English-language channel for coverage saw a slight jump in viewership to an average of 33K CCV with 3.1M hours watched, up from a 31K CCV average last year with 2.9M hours watched.
A similar story was true for The International’s second channels for English and Russian-language coverage as well. While the Dota2ti_2 channel saw an increase in viewership to 1.8M hours watched, up from 1.3M hours watched, the Russian-language channel with the same content produced 1.1M hours watched, exactly the same as last year.
With the 18-team group stage now complete, the remaining 16 teams are currently competing in a double-elimination tournament seeded according to placements earned last week.
If last year’s viewership statistics are any indication of what the title will do in terms of viewership, one could expect Dota 2 to have somewhere around 35M hours watched on Twitch this week. With the fluctuation between viewership for The International’s English and Russian-language channels, where that audience comes from this year could differ from 2018, but indications suggest otherwise.
While Russian-language viewership of The International was strong during the group stage last year, the English-language channel generated a stronger 16.2M hours watched from August 20-26 in 2018. The Russian-language channel mustered up a stronger average CCV of 91K during that week, but fewer hours watched with 13M.
In 2018, Virtus.pro, the last-standing Russia-based team, was eliminated in the fourth round of lower-bracket play. This year, they have already been eliminated, being ousted in the second round of the lower bracket, with an 0-2 record in the main event.
Last year a lack of CIS participation toward the end of The International didn’t result in a complete collapse of Russian-language viewing. With an even lighter showing this year during the main event though, there is potential for a slightly lessened Russian-language audience, especially considering the decline in viewership during the group stage.
With a diverse array of teams and fans across the globe, Dota 2 provides one of esports most internationally popular games, and The International serves as its biggest spotlight. With group stage viewership remaining stagnant overall, it’s important to understand the changes in audience that manifested despite stagnation.
As esports continues to gain popularity, this year’s English-speaking audience for The International has continued to grow. Meanwhile, the established Russian-language viewership bases decline prevented growth from being realized in overall statistics.
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