With content creation becoming a popular career choice, there’s a need for content creators to engage with their followers and monetise the same. Tapping this opportunity is New Delhi-based Habitat. The platform uses popular communication channels to bring together people who want to connect with their favourite content creators. Co-founded by Rohit Pande, the startup caters to value-based content creators who provide valuable information or skills on public platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter and are looking to create their own interactive paying community.
“A community is founded on communication and so these content creators find it easy to connect with their followers on platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram,” says Pande. “While Instagram and other such platforms distribute content to the masses, WhatsApp and Telegram help engage in exclusive conversations, making special and limited offers and providing one-on-one sessions if needed,” he adds.
Habitat provides actionable links that the content creators can add to their public profiles. When a follower clicks on such a link and pays, they get added to a Telegram or WhatsApp group which allows them access to exclusive content and notifications. The startup also provides an app through which creators and members can avail features that are not offered on WhatsApp and Telegram.
“Our goal is to bring followers to these groups and migrate them to the Habitat app when they want more out of their favourite creators. Since the app aims to further communication, its features are designed to help creators and their followers engage properly,” says Pande. Currently, there are over 200 value-based content creators on the platform. “They have been handpicked by us, so that nobody can release content which would add little or no value for members.”
The startup gets between 2% and 5% of what the followers pay to the content creators and has raised around $600,000 in funding. According to Pande, the operational model has led to the creation of communities that manage and moderate on their own. “There are groups where the content creators have picked members to interact with and manage the community, either for cash rewards or for special privileges. In some cases, members have come forward to take care of the group when the creator is away out of pure interest in the person,” he says.
While trying to implement a new model of content monetisation, the startup faces the problem of scaling, as is the case with any digital business on the social platform spectrum. Pande believes the issue can be tackled by reaching a certain threshold of members and creators and investing in marketing to scale and expand to other geographies.