This Week: Calling the start of the 24/7/365 creator era, with NPC influencers, vtubers, always-on creators, FAST channels and more. Plus 2 interesting studies on brands and fans and almost $5 ROI on creator partnerships – and much more! It’s the last week of July 2023 and here’s what you need to know. Also, help me with my new masterclass – details below:
Younger Consumers Prefer Creator Brands: New research shows the promise and limitations of creator-first brands. The good news. Millennials and GenZ prefer creator brands over celebrity or traditional brands, particularly in the food and beverage category. They are also overwhelmingly open to trying new products from their favorite creators. But they won’t stick around for mediocre products or scanty category expertise. This eye-opening study also includes insight on how consumers feel about AI, TikTok and the US economy at large. From ex-tech journalist Dan Frommer, the data is legit.
Roblox Will Pay $800M to Creators This Year: That’s according to a recent post about Roblox’ vision for their economy. Expect a billion-dollar payout next year, as the numbers – and vision – are staggering. Great to see another platform firmly ensconced in the “paying creators” category – and one that doesn’t rely on “funds” or other shenanigans. It’s currently a bit less than Facebook, Twitch and TikTok, and a small fraction of YouTube. But still. The broader story? Metaverse = Roblox. Bitcoin = Robux. NFT = Limiteds (and soon “a virtual goods economy based on scarcity”). While many bemoan the “death” of the Metaverse, Crypto and NFTs, Roblox has been crushing all three. Now I’d just like a better breakdown of who’s earning and how much.
“Winds Howling”: Anyone who’s played Witcher 3 can likely repeat that common phrase uttered by playable character Geralt of Rivia. Fans also remember NPC characters repeating ad nauseum “Making me a slingshot, gunna hunt bears”, and “It’s raining better put on a tunic”. The NPC craze has come to TikTok live, where creators repeat the same NPC-style phrases and motions over and over again. The kids are loving it – and the creators are making bank. It’s not just another fad, as NPC parroting will lead to always-on creator NPCs. It’s of a piece with Amouranth making millions streaming herself sleeping and virtual girlfriend CarynAI wrapping thousands around her little finger – for a dollar a minute. Love it or hate it, always on creator constructs will make money for their doppelgangers while they sleep – or indeed any other time around the clock. I say bring it on.
Where It’s Going: Taylor Lorenz with a fascinating essay on virtual creators, lower barriers to entry and how AI will lead us all to “peak influence”.
Are Infinity Streams the new FAST channels? While Twitch just banned PewDiePie’s rolling live stream of his 3,000 hour loop of videos, YouTube is leaning in. Linus Tech Tips is testing it with LTT TV, and Preston is rolling it through his live tab. HT to The Publish Press – who have more details here. There were 400 watching Linus and 700 watching Preston when I checked in on Friday. 24/7/365 that really adds up – and is of a piece with the NPC trend discussed above. With FAST channels rapidly eclipsing paid streaming across traditional TV, it’s beyond obvious that creators with catalog should participate too.
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Interested? I’m preparing my first heavily discounted “beta” class to refine the course, and plan on launching a full version this fall. I would LOVE IT if you’d take this quick 5 question survey and let me know what YOU think should be in the class – and be the first to learn when sign-ups are available.
- The Platformer lays out five reasons why Threads could still win, and I share why I’m not worried about the DAU drop.
- Congrats to Will Kim and Eric Wei for raising $70m to continue to build financial products for creators!
- Sidemen launch a clothing store in the UK.
- Predictable – two weeks later the Threads backlash has started already. As I said when it launched, I wouldn’t worry about DAUs until March.
- I wrap up my four part series on creator business models with creators and wobbly startups, and what happens if investors or acquirers come calling.
- Related – great insight from Slow Ventures on how they do diligence on potential creator investments. Read it if you are looking for investment – or hoping to build your own portfolio.
- “Watch” is dead, long live “Video”. Not sure how they are different, but Facebook is making a big deal out of it.
- Shein exec behind the ill-fated creator tour opens up. Designers sue Shein over alleged rip-offs.
- SAG-AFTRA is threatening creators with a lifetime ban if they perform “covered work or services for a struck company during the strike”. Passionfruit breaks down the complex issue and provides guidance on how to be an ally.
- CreatorIQ’s fascinating new (directional) study sees a nearly $5 ROI on influencer marketing spend among leading brands, with strong increases in conversion and profit as well. Plus, good news for spending on YouTube and Twitter, less so for TikTok.
- Ami Gan steps down from one of the hardest jobs in the creator economy.
- Twitter aims at LinkedIn, launches job-posting feature for “verified organizations”.
- Two great tastes that taste great together – fans join Jeffree Star’s launch of Makeup and Meat in Casper Wyoming.
- The Daily Dot launches a special report on TikTok’s dangerous mental and physical health issues.
- Check out YouTube Creator Liaison Rene Ritchie’s “Top Five” what I saw this week observations.
- More on the decline and fall of Lemon8.
CRYPTIS & GENIES
- OpenAI partnering with American Journalism Project to give away $5M in grants to local news organizations to integrate AI. Aside, I’m on the board of KQED and would love to connect with someone at either OpenAI or AJP to learn more, introductions welcome!
- Barbie inspires Rex Woodbury to imagine an AI-generated internet.
- Meta working on AI image generation that uses a transformer model instead of diffusion to deliver better results with less work.
- We need more Glorbo! Turns out Ai-generated news stories are pretty easy to hack. Casey Newton explains what it all means.
Quote of the Week: From Stratechery on the SAG-AFTRA and DGA strikes. I lived this in print and audio, and the patterns are the same today with video. Took a bit longer than I thought, but here we are.
The broader issue is that the video industry finally seems to be facing what happened to the print and music industry before them: the Internet comes bearing gifts like infinite capacity and free distribution, but those gifts are a poisoned chalice for industries predicated on scarcity. When anyone could publish text, most text-based businesses went from massive profitability to terminal decline; when anyone could distribute music the music industry could only be saved by tech companies like Spotify helping them sell convenience in place of plastic discs.
Thanks for reading and see you around the internet. Send me a note with your feedback, or post in the comments! Feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested, and if someone forwarded this to you, you can sign up and subscribe on LinkedIn for free here!
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