It’s no longer about passion. With the proliferation of content creation platforms and new technologies, creators of all kinds have started turning passions into professions thereby earning through diverse revenue streams. While all the major social media platforms are investing in an effort to expand the creator ecosystem, many startups have also begun to work with creators. The ‘creator economy’ came into existence almost a decade ago, but got the much needed boost by the on-going pandemic. “During the pandemic, content creators realised that there is a huge potential for them to now create content and reach the masses. Brands also realised that there is a huge potential with these creators in terms of marketing the products and services,” Apaksh Gupta, CEO and co-founder, One Impression, said.
The consumption of data, as well as video on digital has steadily grown. According to a report from Brain & Company, daily time spent per active user on online videos has grown by 60% to 70% during 2018-2020. Interestingly, more than 200 million Indians watched short form videos at least once in 2020.
In the last one year, video streaming platforms along with social media such as Meta, YouTube, to Pinterest, Linkedin among others have rolled out creator funds. While YouTube introduced a $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund last August to reward creators, Meta revealed its plan to invest one billion dollars for creators by the end of 2022. “More than ever, creators are shaping culture today. We’re seeing young people pursue and share their passions, showcase their talent, and build a community for themselves. This is not just true of the big cities, but of small cities and towns, and those who are communicating in regional languages too. We’re focused on providing value for creators across the spectrum,” a Meta spokesperson said.
With India emerging as one of the fastest-growing markets for Meta’s photo and video sharing platform Instagram, it launched a creator education and enablement programme in the country. According to the spokesperson, Meta has launched features like Reels and remix to democratise creativity and provide in-stream ads and Facebook Stars, for those who want to monetise. “We’ve launched a creator education program to support youth aspirations and are constantly working on making the platforms safe. The focus for the next year is also the same, so we’re helping unleash expression and creativity on our platforms,” the spokesperson added further.
And the list doesn’t end here. Even brands have lined up to cash in on the moment. According to Himanshu Arya, founder and CEO, Grapes, brands will increasingly consider partnering with new stakeholders in the ecosystem and this trend will reflect in their marketing budget. He is of the view that varied categories of brands ranging from e-commerce to food delivery, retail to FMCG will team up with content creators, who will match with the brand ethos, to reach new target groups.
Next, homegrown short-video platforms have also tapped into the creator ecosystem. According to a recent Bain & Company report, three in four Internet users, about 600-650 million users will consume short form video by 2025. “One of the major reasons for the rise in the creator economy has been the advancement of creator tools, editing facilities provided by short video platforms,”Ajit Varghese, chief commercial officer, Moj, said. For example, after inking a partnership with Flipkart to diversify the revenue streams for its creators, ShareChat’s Moj is now planning to introduce live streams to enable creators to monetise via virtual gifting.
Another short video platform, InMobi’s Roposo, has pivoted to live commerce to help creators to monetise at scale. The platform is now also planning to enable digital commerce for creators through ticketed live events such as music shows, stand-up comedy, fashion shows, and even paid masterclasses, as stated by Mansi Jain, vice president and general manager, Roposo.
Interestingly, along with popular content categories such as entertainment, comedy, lifestyle, niche categories including sports, fitness, tech, finance, gaming have also found traction. For example, five out of the top 10 creators on YouTube in 2021 were gaming creators and four of the top 10 breakout creators on the platform were emerging gamers. “Another trend which we are already witnessing but will dominate in the coming years is the cross-platform engagement by the creators for maximising revenue and building a strong base for themselves. Creators won’t be solely relying on one type of format or be limited to one platform if they have the creativity and ability to be in all the different places,” Gupta of One Impression, said.
If 2021 was the year of the introduction of multiple revenue streams for creators, 2022 will be the year of minting money out of those streams. How many will succeed, only time will tell.