It’s the first week of October and here’s what you need to know.
You Won’t BELIEVE How Much Mr. Beast Spends on Video: That was the hot take around the internet after Jimmy Donaldson tweeted that he spent about $120M last year. But for what he gets, it’s not all that much. Math: 20 annual episodes at 72 minutes each works out to $83k a minute. Seems expensive? It’s just 4% of what this year’s 4 most expensive summer movie duds spent (Fast X, Indiana Jones, Elemental and Mission Impossible), and about 6% of the top 15 stinkers.
“Oh, but Mr. Beast is more like TV”, you insist. OK. Some hasty calculations show that Mr. Beast spends about a third of Netflix’ average per minute budget. Inarguably Mr. Beast delivers more value than either Netflix’s recent slate or this past summer’s in-theater lunkers. And that doesn’t even include the 37 OTHER long-form videos he posted over the last year – or any of the shorts. What is surprising: none of the fiscally challenged big-media companies have cancelled one of their bloated projects and turned the savings over to the beast. Related, Forbes releases its 50 “Top Creators 2023” list. Take it with a grain of salt, the revenue numbers are guesstimates at best.
Feds Come A-Knocking on Amazon’s Door: The FTC and 17 US states filed motion against Amazon for abusing its monopoly by sticking it to sellers via unfair strategies, abusive MFN covenants and anti-competitive actions. Amazon quickly issued a gag order across all its employees, which disappointingly led to Amy Powell canceling her VidCon appearance. But what’s bad for Amazon will be good for other platforms and creators. These investigations can grind innovation to a halt, which opens up a mile-wide window of opportunity. Time to innovate while Amazon takes their eye off the ball. Related, a rumor was running around VidCon last week that Amazon is trying to ditch Twitch.
Time to Cancel Kick: Speaking of Twitch, some awful stuff happening over at upstart Kick. Last week two Australian creators live-streamed an uncomfortable and seemingly non-consensual intimate encounter with a sex worker they lured up to their studio. Compounding the horror, Kick CEO Eddie Craven was watching live, seemingly condoning the stream with laughing emotes. You can read all the sordid details here on Passionfruit, but it’s time for right-minded streamers to cancel Kick and give back the money – and for users to cancel Kick too. Hopefully the Brisbane police will put these degenerates behind bars as well.
Another Disappointing Slate of AI Tools: Oh, hi kids! How’d you like to chat with Tom Brady, Charlie D’Amelio, Mr. Beast or 15 other famous creators and celebs. Well, you can’t. Even with AI. Instead, Instagram brings you “Charli D’Amelio as Coco, Dance enthusiast”, “MrBeast as Zach, The big brother who will roast you — because he cares”, and “Tom Brady as Bru, Wisecracking sports debater who pulls no punches”. I lightly tested “Coco”, discovering that she doesn’t like coffee, so she doesn’t drink Dunkin Donuts – and couldn’t give me any TikTok tips because doesn’t post there. I was shocked about how clueless this was – but then remembered Meta laid off much of its senior creator team recently. Maybe it’s time to bring some back.
Related: Meta’s other new AI experiences were more of the same. Collage lets you replace your photo backgrounds with an AI prompted image (ie “replace the background with a field of corgis”), similar to that poorly composited Zoom background your boss uses during all-hands meetings. There’s a Giphy-like AI meme generator, and a new way to use Bing and Chat GPT directly from Meta’s messaging apps and the forthcoming Meta smart glasses. I did like the new lifelike metaverse avatars though.
Related 2: Now you can speak directly to ChatGPT4 and have it talk back to you – and send it pictures. Amazon got into the act with a new generative AI version of Alexa. Alas, the demo didn’t go well – at one point directing a fictional Washington DC tourist to a museum in another city. However, these AI voice interfaces are a big deal and will rapidly turn sci-fi into fact. It will make collaborating with AI much easier, along with even more people falling in love with their AI.
SPONSOR: How This Software Engineering YouTuber Scales His Business
Conner Ardman’s YouTube channel explores everything related to software engineering, front-end development, and the larger tech industry.
When it comes to his creative process, Conner maintains a small operation—but doesn’t do it alone. He’s part of the Fiverr influencer program, where he earns income and Fiverr credits when he showcases the brand in his content.
To put together one of his latest videos, “I hired an entire software development team on Fiverr,” he put his Fiverr credits to work by hiring freelancers to help with the copywriting, design, frontend, and backend development needed to build an entirely new application.
“Collaborating with Fiverr has been an all-around amazing experience. They have always trusted my creative vision, given me the freedom to speak honestly about the product, and helped make otherwise unfeasible ideas possible. My audience has really enjoyed the videos so far, and I look forward to making more in the future!” Conner said of the partnership.
Learn more about Fiverr’s influencer program and apply here.
- New ad guidelines relax restrictions on certain topics, allowing creators to monetize. Watch Creator Insider explain the changes on YouTube.
- Now is the time to advertise on Shorts, according to PreciseTV, as the rates will never be lower.
- New roundup of trends from the YouTube culture desk. Plus squishy videos.
- Threads engagement, messaging, discovery, and recommendation all areas of concern, according to Instagram chief Mosseri.
- Body Blow: Indonesia bans purchases from social platforms – and forbids social networks from owning ecommerce sites. It’s TikTok’s number 2 market after the US, and their Shop aspirations just dissolved. Want to know more? TikTok’s Indonesia blog has a Myth/Fact explainer – scroll down for an English translation.
- New research on “resonance” from UM and TikTok helps marketers increase effectiveness.
- Now there’s a “Creative Assistant” to help you make ads on Double-T.
- Kenya wants to ban adult streams on TikTok.
OTHER CREATOR ECONOMY
- Supreme Court in US will decide whether states can dictate how platforms moderate content.
- Twitter claims to have paid creators $20m. That’s roughly .15% of YouTube’s annual payout. Or to be more scientific, a sneeze in a tsunami.
- Twitch needs to fix this viewbotting problem. According to Fortune, it’s a bit out of control.
- Snap shutters its AR for business platform – lays off a bunch of staff.
- Insider will make much more of its content free to read – which means I’ll be linking to three of my favorite reporters a lot more (I avoid paywalled articles if I can). Maybe this is partly why Marta Biino got promoted?
- The FTC cautions creators as it leans into policing sponsorships and branded content.
- AugX Labs raises 3.1M to deliver robust AI-based video creation and editing tools.
- Influencer Marketing for Dummies: Flat rate pricing and guaranteed results part of new offering from agency Influencer.com.
- BeReal and the Holy Grail – “We’re not dead yet”.
GENERATIVE AI and TECH
- Ex Apple designer Jony Ive and OpenAI plan AI-native phone – with a cool $1B funding from Softbank. Did we not learn anything from Magic Leap? Or General Magic?
- Net Neutrality returns – does anyone still think this is an issue?
- Walmart back on Roblox with a more native and creator-centric experience.
- Spotify will translate podcasts into a handful of languages using voice cloning and AI. As always, the devil is in the details – I recommend having a native speaker and fan vet the translations before publishing – 99% accuracy just might not be good enough.
- Kwebbelkop releases version 2.0 of his AI construct, using photo-realistic models rather than an animated avatar. Sort of like what Meta just did (above).
- Rex Woodbury says that the information age is over and we’re at the beginning of a new tech revolution.
- LinkTree summarizes creator data from NYT, Statista and more – and mines their customer data – to deliver another “State of the Creator Economy” report. Interesting trend data on rising platforms, with TikTok, Eventbrite and LinkedIn growing strongly. Also, how to organize your links on LinkTree.
- Influencer Marketing agency Mavrck releases its annual “Creator Compensation Report” (US only), presumably drawing on its own creator pool. Findings include Reels monetizes better than TikTok and YouTube and income and brand deals are up nearly 50%.
- 100 email outreach templates to help connect with creators – from Influencers.Club CEO Nikola Sokolov.
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Even though Fortune’s latest list of top earning creators