This Week: Given TikTok’s latest move to abandon wide-spread revshare, Uscreen picked a good time to start sponsoring this newsletter. WELCOME! It’s the third week of November 2023 and here’s what you need to know. Also don’t miss this Thursday’s meetup in Lisbon! Can’t wait to see you there.
TikTok – “You’re on Your Own”: After slightly more than 3 years, TikTok abandoned its broad multi-billion-dollar creator fund last week. With paltry payouts, and rumors of it being mostly a PR stunt, I say good riddance. TikTok continues with smaller creator initiatives, including its beta and exclusive “Creativity Fund”, which pays out only on videos longer than a minute. It’s an odd choice for a short-form platform, until you factor in YouTube Shorts 60 second duration limit. My take: TikTok wants to help creators, but only in targeted ways that support its new priorities and initiatives – currently squashing Shorts, sparking Shop and lifting LIVE. When it comes to making consistent money, TikTok creators are on their own. Related:
- I posted when the news broke, good discussion from creators and other experts about what it means.
- TikTok’s Jerry Soer posted an infographic summarizing their 14 monetization options for creators.
- Avi Gandhi with tips on how to build a membership program that actually converts.
What if Everybody Just Gave up on Short Form? Both the Information’s Kaya Yurieff and eMarketer Analyst Jasmine Enberg are seeing early signs of a decline in short form video. And Andrew Rosen asks
“What is the business model for short form video” in his latest newsletter. I’ve been questioning TikTok’s value to creators since January 2022, when I wrote that “TikTok’s algorithm would be, on balance, bad for creators and the creator economy.” And now, as the Publish Press reports, some large TikTok creators are seeing videos randomly disappear. My conclusion? TikTok doesn’t care about big creators. I have a cunning plan. What if big creators quiet-quit TikTok? Something to watch in 2024, for sure.
Open AI – What it Means for Creators: Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT, channeled his inner Steve Jobs and pulled of a whiz-bang firecracker of a keynote last week at his developer conference. The announcements were fascinating and far reaching – everything from a simple custom chatbot creator to putting art (DallE), GenAI (ChatGPT), vision and speech recognition all into one consumer product. And most of it is available now. The chatbot piece is most relevant for creators today as you can automate common queries and tasks – and use those developed by others. Sure, Poe lets you do that too, but instead of wrapping the LLMs, it’s baked in. For an early example, check out Phil Ranta’s AI TikTok creator Madison and Casey Newton’s Copy Editor. But I think image and speech and multi-modal recognition are more important. I’m going to cancel Midjourney and subscribe to ChatGPT instead – and you should too.
- Related: Bill Gates on how AI will fundamentally change how we use computers – “Agents will be the next platform”. OG geeks will appreciate his back-handed nod to “Clippy”.
Facebook Unveils In-App Amazon Shopping: You can now link your Meta and Amazon accounts and buy stuff without leaving Facebook or Instagram. It’s an interesting development, one that’s apparently been underway for a while. Details are spotty, and it’s unclear whether creators will be able to take advantage of these integrations and whether it includes live shopping. I also wonder about data availability, as Amazon doesn’t share the details many creators and brands need. Unclear if Meta transmogrifies into Temu, but we’ll see more “#FBMadeMeBuyIt” and “InstaMadeMeBuyIt” in the future.
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- YouTube might get its own “I Feel Lucky” button.
- The new “For You” section will finally roll out on the Channel Home tab next Monday.
- Cool new AI features being tested, including a video-level AI chatbot and comment summaries for busy creators.
- Holiday bonuses, paltry IG sub numbers, new FB subs, gifts and more in Meta’s latest update.
- Zuckerberg apparently ignored entreaties from his team ($) to focus more on teen well-being.
- It’s like living in the future! Instagram rolls out their “Creators of Tomorrow”.
- More calls to ban TikTok last week, first from Senator Josh Hawley, and then from the candidates at the US GOP Presidential debate – flanked by charming “TikTok Sparks Good” TV spots.
- TikTok leans into improving attribution with Rockerbox partnership.
- TikTok launches new guide for fashion marketers.
OTHER CREATOR ECONOMY
- Deep look inside a successful creator-led business focused on Only Fans. Strip away the formats and it’s starkly similar to many other $10M+ creator-led companies.
- EU continues to dig into kids safety online, requesting more from details from TikTok and YouTube. And in the US, a Meta whistleblower emerges.
- SiriusXM leans into creator-curators rather than AI DJs (shout-out to my fav @Jonathan Schwartz – (99+) Jonathan Schwartz | LinkedIn).
- Nice to see a startup giving “large equity” to a creator to align objectives around shared mission (Ninja/4Sight). But equity in lieu of cash has been abused as well, so be careful creators, and consult with a lawyer first.
- Coding camps used to be all the rage with parents. Now we’ve moved on to Kreator Kamps for Kids ($).
- Raising capital for creator economy startups will be brutal in early 2024 ($).
- Choreography copyright battles heat up . “David” (Kyle Hanagami) beats “Goliath” (Epic Games) as court refines how motions should be compared.
- Evan Shapiro on why we need to gut section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and bring back the Fairness doctrine. He also compares tobacco to social media far more eloquently than I could.
- Looks like the Tumblr reboot didn’t work out. CEO Mullenweg shares what’s next on AMA.
- Garbage Day tries to explain why Mr. Beast is so creepy.
- First reviews of Rhett and Link’s new sugar-bomb cereal. Mmmm!
- Related, Smosh brings back Food Battle (ht: Publish Press).
- Li Jin uses the Love vs. Fame dimension to explain social networking vs. social media platforms – and then explains how crypto could span the gap.
- CBS News launches fact-checking org to unmask AI, deepfakes.
- Another crypto startup aims to secure creator content.
- Here comes the post mobile age – although I don’t think the AI Pin will be the winner.
- Semrush released a 2024 Social Media Trends report. Their 5 megatrends should be obvious to ICE readers (UGC, Authenticity, TT/LI, Creator Power, Metrics). Semrush sponsored a group of top business influencers to promote the report, so your clients and co-workers will likely read it – and you should have a POV when it comes up.
Aside: I wonder if “2024 trends” pieces should be discounted if they don’t publish within 30 days of 1/1/2024.
- Spotify released an analysis of its own data, also promoted by a creator – in this case @Jon Youshei. Good data for podcasters, including metrics on top discovery techniques, the value of Q&As, when people listen, and what formats work best for video.
- Roblox’s new study details how GenZ approaches digital/physical and finds more than half think Avatar style is more important that IRL, and that brands matter for most Avatar users – and avatar fashion influences real-world preferences.
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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: