Beware the Digital Guillotine!

A cake with a guillotine logo on it

Description automatically generatedAvoiding the “Digital Guillotine”: Creators increasingly face backlash from fans for not taking a stand on politically sensitive issues. Blockout 2024 is just the latest example, but we’ve also seen creators in Southeast Asia losing followers for not supporting the Starbucks and McDonalds boycott and more. The macabre term for this is Digital Guillotine or “digitine”, and creators will need to carefully navigate political issues to avoid getting cancelled too. Every community is different, and the more you understand how yours feels the less likely you’ll get chopped.

Shakeup at Mr. Beast: The iconic company run by Jimmy Donaldson, his brother and mother now has two presidents. The new one – focused on “MrBeast Industries”, includes current and future retail and SAAS businesses, while the existing YouTube one continues to be run by Marc Hustevedt. “Industries” will likely be packaged up for a public offering or private equity investment – perhaps letting the founders take some money off the table – while the content side continues to expand. Key question: can the business transition from BeastMom and Sons to a corporate enterprise that’s not totally Jimmy Donaldson dependent. Hopefully this helps.

Kling Beats Sora? Lots of chatter about Chinese AI video generation app Kling as being “better” than Sora. Here’s a comparison to help you decide. Note you’ll need a Chinese phone number to actually 100%use Kling. You’ll need papal dispensation from OpenAI to use Sora. Until we can actually use each side-by-side, it’s a fascinating view into the future – but not a game-changer today. Note, I’m pretty sure Kling stands for “KeLing AI Vision”.

Sports Will Slaughter Entertainment: Sports rights are not in a bubble, argues media expert Doug Shapiro, instead they could end up taking 40% or more of total media content spend – up from about 20% now. That means entertainment content spend drops by the same amount. What does that mean for creators? A smaller market for big TV and movie projects like Mr Beast’s Amazon Prime show, along with other creator-developed streaming and theatrical efforts. OR… The assumed lower-cost of creator-first projects could absorb more of that smaller pie. On the flip side, leaning into sports with new creator-first IP – or even new sports – could deliver huge success. For example, check out the new Kings League, powered by creators (H/T Publish Press). Also expect YouTube to focus more on sports and less on creators. The copycat video platforms won’t be far behind.

AI Giveth, AI Taketh: As AI disrupts internet search, expect more “sky is falling” stories about how it’ll be bad for creators. On balance I think it will hurt some creators but benefit others. Here’s my take on the outcomes – with the caveat that no one really knows:

  • Search Traffic: If the balance of your product sales come from SEO-juiced search, this will be a problem. But the inverse is also true. We’ll see more search traffic for creators who make things of true value. Those AI-generated search summaries will include MORE links to trusted creator products and videos compared to SEO farmed produce.
  • AI Video Summaries: As YouTube rolls out search-based video deep-links, some utility creators will see less decreased watch time and less views. However, those deep-links will increase exposure for many creators, thus improving discovery and adding new subscribers and fans.

SPONSOR: Whalar and the Tribeca Film Festival Launch a New Creator Vertical!

Tribeca and Whalar Group launched a new creator vertical at the Tribeca Festival this week. The new creator vertical will bridge the gap between Hollywood and the growing Creator Economy space. The vertical will be year-round at the first physical campus for creators and their teams, The Lighthouse. Read more about it here.







Hopefully I will see you at Open Sauce on Friday, where I’ve been programming the industry day – and will host it too! It’s like VidCon and Maker Faire had a baby.

100% written by me – no human or AI ghostwriters were involved in the production (except for the cover art!).

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