MrBeast – Will Amazon Love Him Back?

This Week: TikTok’s new creator payout program, FYP algorithm secrets revealed, MrBeast lands a huge TV deal, games come to LinkedIn, and AI’s Woodstock moment.

A blue tiger with pink frosted cookies

Description automatically generatedMr Beast Comes to TV: Everyone’s favorite YouTuber is producing a 10-episode game show for Amazon Prime that debuts this November. For context, check out his manager’s post on what it will be and what it means. My thoughts? First, it’s amazing to see Donaldson’s crossover to traditional television happen – a great development for the entire creator economy. Many YouTubers tried to jump to traditional TV, with mostly “square peg, round hole” results. But this time feels different. Donaldson and team have creative control and a $100M budget – roughly the cost of a single “Rings of Power” episode. With so much YouTube viewing now on the big screen, creator content has earned a place on the biggest glowing rectangle in the house. Can’t wait to talk about this with MrBeast President Marc Hustvedt at NAB (use CL11 for a free ticket).

But I Have Some Concerns:

  • Focus: TV is hard. MrBeast’s production process will likely be disrupted, with 10 Prime episodes to be produced over the next 6 months. Yes, he’s hired a brand-new team. But splitting your creative lead’s focus – and doubling his on-camera requirements – could impact those 12 episodes he’ll also be producing for his YouTube channel.
  • Length: Hero episodes on YouTube average 19 minutes, varying between 12 and 27 minutes recently. He’s delivering more than 6 hours across 10 episodes – or about 40 minutes each, carefully formatted with cliffhangers and ad breaks. How will TV’s rigidity change his storytelling?
  • Creative Politics: I’m not worried about MrBeast’s ability to produce amazing content. I am worried about the inexorable death by committee inside traditional TV organizations. Creative control survives success, but if the show fails to hit its targets, what happens then? I’ve worked at three big TV companies, and there’s a 100% chance that at least one Prime development exec is already sharpening steely knives, aching for the slightest opportunity to cut the heart out of the show.
  • Unreasonable KPIs: A November debut means this is Amazon’s big swing for the holiday shopping season. I’ve heard rumors of their new in-player tech that lets you discover and pay for stuff without leaving the screen. I assume that it’ll be a big part of this series. But just as Shop is degrading TikTok, will Amazon’s commercial requirements fatally flaw the experience?
  • Success: I expect it to be very successful. But what if it’s unreasonably, incredibly successful? Does that spell the end of his YouTube channel? And when will we see MrBeast – The Movie!

TikTok Launches New Creator Payment Scheme: TikTok formally unveiled guidelines for getting paid with its new “Creator Rewards Program”. First up, I’m very happy that they continue to try to pay creators. However, without any details on the five key metrics that determine payout amount – and who is eligible – it’s impossible to know if it’s game-changer or smoke screen. The program rewards videos over 1 minute long – particularly those that lean in to underserved search terms in an effort to undermine Google – but other mysterious factors are at play too.

Farmville Coming to LinkedIn? Lots of negative chatter over LinkedIn adding gaming, but I think it makes a lot of sense. Games and business go together – I loved my Game Theory class at Stern, and Sims developer Maxis used to release custom business sims along with SimAnt and SimEarth. Forget those stupid timewasters, I hope they release a series of business simulators. I’d pay good money for SImfluencer, Railroad Tycoon, Kerbel Space Program and an updated version of Job Simulator too. Let’s start training a new generation of office drones, instead of just finding ways to waste their time.

TikTok and the Art of Personalization: New academic study focused on exploitation and exploration on social media feeds finds that 30-50% of the first 1,000 videos TikTok serves up are based on your existing topic graph (exploitation), while the remaining 50-70% introduce you to new content (exploration). How does it exploit? Mostly based on time spent per video and the creators you follow, according to the study. The dynamic between what TikTok already knows about you – and what it thinks you might like (or what it wants to shove at you – aka Shop videos and ads), makes up your custom FYP. How did the researchers sneak out the secret data? GDPR, which lets users download their own data! It’s a first step, not a truly randomized study, but fascinating insight nonetheless. Fast Company has a summary here.

Everyone’s Talking About Jack Conte’s SXSW Keynote: Well worth a watch, although it is 40 minutes long. TLDR: The Patreon CEO shares his history as a creator, and the origin of Patreon. He explains that TikTok and Facebook killed the follower. He then leans into why True Fans are so important – and lays out Patreon’s vision of strengthening creator-fan relationships outside of the platforms through community, commerce and experiential. He’s absolutely right.

  • Related: Excited for Super.Fans, who have been building this for the last two years (disclosure, I’m on the advisory board – happy to intro you to the CEO).

Geeking Out on Generative AI: I spent a few days at #NVIDIA’s #GTC2024 developer conference last week. My take? It wasn’t Woodstock for AI, but it certainly was fun. NVIDIA’s latest Blackwell chip launch promises faster model training using less electricity. Best session? OpenAI’s COO talking about the future of AI. Also, The SF Boom-Bust cycle seems to be swinging up, with a packed GTC in San Jose and the Game Developer conference filling San Francisco last week.

CREATOR WORLD: Want to speak at Creator World / AI Matters / Music Matters in Singapore May 8 and 9? Shoot me a DM or an email!










  • Deloitte’s 2024 digital media trends report “discovers” that fandom has legs, SVOD is oversold, video games have a girl problem, and creators drive viewers to TV. Proves the timeless definition of a consultant: someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time. But validating nevertheless.

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Thanks for reading and see you around the internet.


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