This Week: Text, images and now video. Plus, social video is just TV, TikTok CEO Chew headed back to DC and much more.
AI Searching YouTube Changes EVERYTHING: I had a brief mention last week about how Google’s AI Bard can watch and summarize YouTube videos for you. As @Brendan Gahan observed last week, the sneaky ramifications are widespread,. This will let brands summarize entire back-catalogs to ensure brand suitability, and eventually allow comments to be summarized and sifted for suitability too. Not sure if this includes the ability to summarize private or unlisted videos (I hope not), but creators should peruse their own back catalog for anything off-color, and decide whether to keep, delete or privatize. Slow Ventures speculates as well on what this might mean for creators.
- Related – AI Video Advances, Still WIP: Master storyteller @Bernie Su releases an AI generated video trailer for a fictitious Harry-Potteresque movie. Watch first with audio off – then with it on. I found the video to be meh by itself, but the voice and music make it super-compelling.
- Related: Pika (one of the tools Bernie used) just raised $55M and released 1.0 of its model. It didn’t do a great job, though, on my standard AI video test.
- Related: Alibaba’s Institute for Intelligent Computing releases new character animation model that “transforms character images into animated videos controlled by desired pose sequences”. It’s pretty cool.
- A generative AI model trained on YouTube’s corpus seems likely soon. Hopefully Big Red will let you opt out, but don’t count on it. Even more reason to embrace the YouTube New Wave of storytelling rather than just aping reality TV tropes.
Social Video is Now Just Television: Interesting debate unfolding here. Start with this thread on how social media isn’t dying, it’s turning into broadcast media. Then read Garbage Day’s response, leaning into how big creators are actually in charge. Then move on to the article that started it all – a research report from Oregon State prof Daniel Faltesek on how TikTok is actually television. Evan Shapiro sees it differently, predicting that “video is bifurcating into two categories” – premium 16:9 long-form content and disposable lower value 9:16 clips. Finally read Mike Sheilds analysis of how older media buyers can’t fathom the power of TikTok, while the under 25 crowd can’t actually understand why people watch TV. When you have enough eyeballs and attention, the money will flow – but mass platform/brand fit is still a work in progress. Related: FilmRise is taking Theorist Media to TV.
Auddia Plans to Steal from Podcasters: A new version of podcast playback app Auddia will use AI to automatically remove in-show ad-reads. The $6 monthly app calls this a win-win, saying it “doesn’t negatively affect revenue per episode.” Guess they never heard about performance ads, which drive significant revenue to creators for both leads and sign-ups – but only listening leads to payment. They plan on initially slicing up 200 of the top podcasts and claim they don’t need an agreement because “we don’t technically alter the episodes”. Even though podcasters can’t opt out, they company did throw a bone, saying it will partner with creators on an “attractive revenue-per-listener-per-episode” basis. Their stupidity and hubris shocks me. Guess what Auddia? It’s still theft.
Toxic Social / Kids Brew Keeps Getting Danker: Four weeks ago I compared social platforms to tobacco companies, and it’s even worse than I thought. New revelations show that Meta deliberately engineered its platforms to hook kids and failed to turn-off millions of known underage accounts. A WSJ study found that Reels showered highly sexualized videos featuring kids ($) onto users who *only* followed teen and pre-teen creators. The US Senate is now leaning in as TikTok, YouTube, Discord, Meta and Snap CEOs will testify in January. As I said back in October, this story is only going to get worse – and will likely dominate creator economy news in 2024.
The White House Embraces Creators: I was honored to attend the first creator / digital holiday party at “The People’s House” last week. Read about the experience here, and check out more photos I took here. But the real news? The administration and the election team will lean heavily on creators in 2024 as they promote Biden’s agenda and work towards re-election. Expect creator liaisons in every state – and that’s just a start. Watch this space in 2024 as it develops. Oh, and thanks to Kaya Yurieff from The Information for highlighting my coverage in her must-read newsletter.
- Premium subscribers can now play 30 mini-games on YouTube. I wonder how many were originally Google Doodles?
- YouTube expanding Product Drop capabilities to better compete for live shopping dollars, plus updates to the community tab and more.
- Beyond vanity, Little Monster argues that YouTube subscriber counts are mostly worthless.
- Update on the “YouTube vs. Ad Blockers” battle.
- Meta says it broke up a Chinese influence operation looking to sway US voters.
- Related, Nick Clegg lays out Meta’s plans to combat election interference globally in 2024.
- Exploring the sticky issues raised by those stupid Meta chatbots featuring characters played by celebrities (Charli D’Amelio, Tom Brady, Jimmy Donaldson, etc.).
- Threads finally headed to the EU in December.
- Happy 10th birthday to Meta’s “Fundamental AI Research” team.
- TikTok says viewers watch longer videos 50% of the time. Of course, that’s due to algorithmic selection as much as user preference. Aside, anyone else tired of all the shopping videos?
- Related: The Information reveals that TikTok will spend $500 Million ($) to subsidize the shop in the US. Guess that’s where the “Creator Fund” dollars went.
- Related: Online store sales have grown rapidly but brick-and-mortar still rules the US.
- TikTok AR effects offer a great new way to monetize. Learn more at their free virtual event next week.
- How three sports creators conquered TikTok.
- Looks like TikTok could open a shop in Indonesia after all.
- New holiday themed cards from TikTok aim to jumpstart your creativity. Of course, ChatGPT could do something similar.
- Maybe Montana won’t ban TikTok after all.
- TikTok launches new “Artist Account” – but its only for musicians. What about painters, potters and sculptors – guess they don’t belong.
- TikTok leans into sustainability and promotes #ClimateAction at COP28.
OTHER CREATOR ECONOMY
- Business Insider wraps up 11 companies helping creators build communities ($). Thanks to reporter @sydney bradley for including my thoughts in the story.
- Substack adds video capabilities to better compete with Patreon, Kajabi and others.
- Must view presentation from Terry Kawaja / Luma on the state of digital marketing. Includes analysis on general investment/M&A trends, live and social commerce, AI and much more.
- Interesting piece from @Brad Berens calling for a rebrand of “Social Media”. His suggestion is long, I’d shorten it to “Algorithmic Media” – or just Algo Media.
- “Authentic” is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year. That’s so seven years ago.
- Brian Morrisey sees Twitter becoming more SkyMall than TV after Musk incinerates his advertisers. Could the RocketMan win where the PocketMan failed? I doubt it.
- Related: Note to self. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
- Related: Who needs WalMart, Disney, etc. Looks like Twitter will hang its hat on Web3 Pump and Dump.
- Laura Lee to depart Twitch as Chief Content Officer after a year.
- The NFL (aka No Fun League) still has a lot to learn about working with creators. Aside, can they really fine a creator for doing their thing on the sideline? What a bunch of maroons.
- Reddit is a top news source for many – but news publishers are still figuring out how to use it ($).
- Bending Spoons lays off entire FiLMiC team a year after acquisition.
- They used to just play on the platform – but now these creators are making millions building Roblox games. And with new AI tools even more will do the same.
- 41 experts weigh in on Year 2 of Gen AI.
- I was very impressed with some of the VTubers that attended our first Creator World in Singapore a year ago. Great to see AnotherBall raise $12.7M to further the efforts.
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I’ve built and sold multiple creator economy startups to top media companies – including Discovery and Paramount. Subscribe here on LinkedIn to get this newsletter every Monday.