YouTube CUTS DEEP: YouTube just laid off about 100 people in its creator support teams – roughly 30% overall. They also eliminated the top-creator partnership team and combined those partner managers with the broader creator support group. The standard blah-blah corporate speak will emphasize that creators are as important as ever to YouTube, but as I’ve learned, you follow what a company DOES, not what it SAYS. And by laying off 30% of its creator support staff, I can only conclude that YouTube values its creators 30% less in 2024 than they did in 2023. See below for my take – but this move is just part of a set of big changes.
- Related: Laid off from YouTube? TikTok’s hiring.
Jellysmack and Spotter Now More Alike Than Different: A few years ago, Jellysmack and Spotter offered two different models for supporting and leveraging creator businesses. Jellysmack helped YouTubers expand to alternate platforms – primarily Facebook – while Spotter unlocked back-catalog value on YouTube. But they’ve slowly moved closer to each other and are now more alike than different.
Last year Jellysmack leaned into back-catalog acquisition, while Spotter expanded into creator tools and white-glove service for top creators. Now with the collapse of Facebook monetization and the 2023 ad recession, the two are even more similar. Jellysmack’s December reorg into three divisions (as laid out by Business Insider $) closely mirrors Spotter’s model. “Jellysmack Technologies” leans into AI-based self-service tools for a broad swath of creators and will compete with Spotter’s unannounced “Spotter Studio”. “Jellysmack Services” provides white-glove support and monetization to high-value creators and media partners and aligns with Spotter’s efforts there. Where do they differ? Jellysmack was built on owned channels – mostly Facebook – and “Jellysmack Entertainment” will continue to build and acquire creators and studios.
Softbank has plowed hundreds of millions across both companies. In 2024’s challenging investment climate, higher interest rates and uncertain ad market, perhaps the only move left on the board is for Son-san to merge them together. Given YouTube’s move I hope this doesn’t happen, as each company has strong leadership and offers true value to creators. We will watch this play out over the next 12 months.
- Related: HypeAuditor rounds up the 15 best YouTube Analytics tools for 2024.
Colin and Samir Launch Pricey Course for Creators: Great to see Colin and Samir bringing their expertise to Kajabi, launching a new course to help accelerate creators. But wow, $1,800 is a lot to be part of a 70-person month-long cohort. You do get 7 live sessions, targeted exercises, and lots of videos to watch – plus a year of Spotter Studio, an unannounced suite of AI tools. For that money you could sign up for 18 months of on-demand coaching from VidIQ, every one of Jay Clouse’s courses or a combo of Ed FilmBooth’s Thumbnail course and Ali Abdaal’s “Part-Time YouTube Academy”. There are many other options too, including some even more expensive. Here’s an idea. Maybe we need a FYPM for courses. How about it @lindsey Lugrin? FYTM?
What It Means: It’s telling that just as YouTube eliminates much of its dedicated white-glove creator team, both Spotter and Jellysmack lean in, and Colin and Samir get even deeper into the act as well. It’s the inverse of what happened in 2012, when YouTube realized it needed to claw-back creator relationships from the external MCNs it tacitly supported. TikTok also seems less interested in top creators – mostly investing in micro and nano creators. It’s more evidence of a maturing online video market, as layoffs and profit optimization replace growth. It also means that even as the overall creator economy grows, creators are more and more on their own. The path for creators used to be linear – build a channel, grow your community, cash big rev-share checks. No more. You are now in a maze of twisty little passages, all of them different. Creators must take charge – through owned communities, direct connections with fans and direct monetization. Finding your way is more and more up to you. Even more reason for Creators.Org and Creators Guild to step up, and yet another reason to be optimistic about Whalar’s new co-working/clubhouses in NYC, LA and London.
- Related: Check out this week’s sponsor – they can help creators own their own destiny.
Jim Update: I’m so excited to be curating and hosting Creator Lab with @Robin Raskin at NAB in Vegas this April, and Creator World in May (as part of Creator Week) with @Jasper Donat in Singapore. Second time around for each event – and we’re going to make each one so much better! Want to speak? Send me a DM or email. Also pix from my meetup at Margaritaville in Vegas last week at Creator Economy Live – expect one in Singapore AND Vegas this spring.
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- YouTube was accused of slowing down computers using ad blockers – turns out it was a bug in the adblocking software.
- Rene Ritchie with an update on YouTube’s A/B thumbnail testing feature (soon come mon).
- Want to sell your YouTube channel? Matt Gielen shares 13 things you need to do before hitting the market.
- Zuck has a (relatively) new infatuation, and is betting big on AI – and hopes to develop open source AGI (aka “real” artificial intelligence).
- Nick Klegg recaps Davos and his talks about why open-source AI creates safer products because anyone can scrutinize and stress test them.
- More proof of Meta’s reluctance to protect kids on its platform.
- New tools make it easier for agencies to manage creators on Meta platforms.
- Detailed look at how Threads will embrace the Fediverse.
- TikTok developing a feature that will turn your prompts into songs. Thanks AI, I can’t wait for these masterworks to flood Spotify!
- Interesting GenZ TikTok vs Instagram data – one finding: TikTok preferred for viewing long-form videos Note the data is from July 2023.
- TikTok seeds Sundance with creators.
- Iowa sues TikTok for lying to parents about what the 12+ rating really means.
- TikTok releases its policy to protect election integrity globally in 2024.
OTHER CREATOR ECONOMY
- Mr. Beast posts full video on Twitter – his manager has the backstory, along with an interesting revenue-per-view comparison of top platforms. Garbage Day reacts.
- Related: Passionfruit thinks the video might actually be an ad.
- How ELF and Duolingo are more alike than different – and more from my Creator Economy Live event recap.
- Brat buys CryptTV – Rockwater breaks down the deal.
- Good piece on how Twitch lost its way. Related, interesting interview with CEO Dan Clancy days before the huge layoff.
- How Spotify took Afrobeats global.
- Sponsored articles come to LinkedIn – and sponsored newsletters are coming too.
- All of our viewership and readership metrics are probably inflated – sometimes by a LOT.
- Ali-A and Airrack join Annoying Orange, Like Nastya and 60+ other creators on Playworks’ OTT app.
- Fascinating to see what the former Alloy and Defy senior team is up to at Motom – and excited to be helping them out.
- RELATED: 6 paid social commerce trends retailers need to know about. Also fascinated by this “Inside the Ecommerce Industry” report.
- Supreme Court hands partial victory to Apple in the App-Store lawsuit, although apps can now “steer” users to other payment methods. In theory that means more money for creators. In practice it just gives Apple another opportunity to be an anti-competitive jerk – and less for creators too.
- Related: Why many app developers are ignoring the Vision Pro.
- Starting a community on Reddit, Discord or another platform? Better own your IP somewhere else -otherwise the platform can snatch that trademark away from you.
- The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming…. For Skibidi Toilet.
- I asked Bith.TV to make me an automated video about “The YouTube Layoffs”. It hilariously mis-understood.
- Looks like the Ouroboros syndrome is well underway as Garbage In Garbage Out threatens to seriously weaken GenAI – and make trusted human content even more valuable. Even more reasons why the NYT suit is so important – and why you shouldn’t believe Altman’s dismissal.
- Video podcasts preferred over audio-only, more entertaining ads and YouTube owns listening AND discovery – just a few of the fascinating findings from the 11th annual “Podcast Download” study.
- New data from Influencers.Club aggregates Link-In Bio data for 745,000 creators to discover top 19 most popular platform links. LinkedIn comes in at #7. (disclosure, I am an advisor to Influencers.Club).
- Newsletter platform Beehiiv with a treasure trove of data and insight for newsletter publishers!
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