YouTube’s Massive Impact on the US Economy, a Brandcast Touchdown, and Updates on TikTok’s Montana Mess

This Week: Updates from YouTube’s Brandcast and NFL Chief Roger Goodell’s surprise appearance, also new unskippable ads and AI for advertisers. Also, a look at the eye-popping “YouTube impact 2022” report, along with various topics related to creators, including new tools from Meta and the psychology of support. Also the decline of the modern internet webpage, the rise of AI replicated creators, TikTok’s Montana mess and developments in the world of NFTs. It’s the fourth week of May 2023 and here’s you need to know.

YouTube Brandcast Focuses on NFL, AI: Although creators were everywhere, NFL Chief Roger Goodell stole the show at YouTube’s advertiser party last week. Big Red spent billions to stream American football this fall, and they clearly need strong advertiser – and viewer – support to make money. Unskippable ads are coming too, which means more money for creators – hopefully – but more blowback from users. And following Meta’s lead, they also leaned into AI for advertisers. Quite the contrast to the dispirited upfronts from traditional TV platforms, reeling from the Hollywood writer’s strike. Creators don’t have a union (yet), thus their star power was prominently displayed. Alas, my invite got lost in the mail, so I can’t share any fun details. Attendees also walked away with a free Sunday Ticket subscription, which will cost regular folks nearly $500. If anyone has a free “Sunday Ticket” invite left over and wants to support this newsletter, send it my way – I’ll give you a shout-out here next week!


YouTube Impact Report 2022 Released: in a related story, YouTube released its “YouTube impact 2022” report, touting $35 Billion of US economic impact, 390,000 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) jobs in its “creative ecosystem” and over 55,000 US channels with more than 100,000 subscribers (according to Brendan Gahan, it mushrooms to 320k worldwide). Yes sub metrics are suspect, but still. Those are killer numbers. If YouTube were a country, their US GDP contribution alone would slot them in between Estonia and Senegal. For all the handwringing about TiKTok, Snap and Instagram, the report paints a picture of a dominant creative and economic force, and one that’s growing 15% or more annually. And unlike the studies we discussed last week, YouTube worked with a legit research firm, Oxford Economics, to conduct its surveys. Want to see what a real methodology statement looks like? Download the whole study and head to page 25. Finally, a study that’s projectible, not just directional.


Ad Blockers Steal from Creators: Do you use an ad-blocker on YouTube? If so, you’re not only docking YouTube, but you’re fleecing creators as well. YouTube is experimenting with blocking access to ad blockers as it tries to right the revenue picture. But because creators get a share of revenue, less ads served means less money for creators. Support your favorite creators. Watch ads on their channels. Otherwise, those creators might have to stop.


Why We Support Creators: There’s more you can do to support your favorite creators though, from tipping to buying merch. But why do we do it? It’s not altruism, says Derek Yang, but instead one (or more) of four primary motivators – from status to identity. Yang’s post dives deep into each of these, helping creators and brands refine their monetization strategy and motivate fan support.


TwitchCon Facing Competition: Might be trolling, might be truth, but it looks like upstart game streaming platform Kick is developing its own event to compete with TwitchCon. Some chatter suggests it might even debut in Las Vegas the same weekend too. I went through this in 2018 when I was running VidCon and creator Tana Mongeau launched a competing event called “TanaCon” the same weekend about a mile from us. My advice for Twitch: Take the high road, be gracious, and double down on your own attendee experience. And reach out if you want more battle-tested advice!


Montana Bans TikTok: The proposed ban was signed into law. Although easy to circumvent, the precedent of a state banning TikTok will continue to tarnish Double-T while unleashing a torrent of lawsuits that will likely hit the Supreme Court eventually. First up – five Montana-based creators are suing for first amendment protection. In a related story, the Supreme Court continued to agree that internet platforms are not liable for the content they serve – and their moderation – by ruling for Twitter and dismissing a related case against YouTube. Will the Montana ban hold up? IANAL, so I asked my favorite creator lawyer (and CEO of Creators Legal) Eric Farber:

Section 230 and the TikTok/Montana ban both deal with digital platform rights, but from different angles; while 230 focuses on user content liability, the TikTok ban brings up questions of national security, data privacy, and the practicalities of enforcing such a ban, all while raising significant constitutional concerns. It is unlikely the Montana ban will hold up on the federal level.

New Facebook Tools for Creators: Facebook continues to lean into creators by adding new resources for creators to its “Professional Dashboard”. Good to see, but does anyone else think Meta’s creator resources are all over the place? There’s that dashboard, the Meta Business Suite, Adam Mosseri’s Instagram channel, Zuckerberg’s video site on Facebook, Facebook for Creators and much more. I’d love to see everything come together – maybe they need to take a “page” from Linktree?




Tips of the Week:

Quote of the Week: From Ben Thompson’s Stratechery essay on Google’s AI push:

“The PC revolution, the Internet revolution, and the AI revolution (can be) viewed as three applications of the defining economic feature of digitization — zero marginal costs — to information:

  • The PC allowed for zero marginal duplication of information.

  • The Internet allows for zero marginal distribution of information…

  • AI is zero marginal generation of information…

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