Tamseel Hussain, Founder & CEO, pluc.tv

Tamseel Hussain is the Founder and CEO of pluc.tv. He has over a decade of experience giving room to youth-led virtual narratives and is now building storytelling and technology solutions for the age of the creator economy. Tamseel has trained more than 30000 people on mobile storytelling and social media. He has worked extensively to drive citizen solutions during various humanitarian crises and COVID19. He has previously worked with organizations like Change.org, Oxfam India.

He is a member of the working group of National Platform on vaccine Confidence and the Intercitizen Council of The Billion Second Institute. Tamseel has also founded award-winning platforms like letmebreathe.in (India’s largest climate change and sustainability stories platform) and socialsaheli.com (powering India’s rural women entrepreneurs).

 

It’s 2021 and creators haven’t been this hot. Social media platforms want them, and marketers want to work with them. The demand for creators has skyrocketed. As the creator economy expands, there are new opportunities for creators to earn revenue beyond just brand partnerships. 

So, where does that leave brands?

A May 2021 report by early-stage venture capital firm Antler, found that there are more than 220 companies worldwide that cater to creators. 

Audience monetization was the largest category: Antler identified 85 companies that help creators make money outside of brand sponsorships.

Some marketers may be concerned that the increase in alternative income opportunities could lessen creators’ willingness to work with them. 

That’s clearly not the case. India as a country is still in a phase of content and creator discovery more than monetisation, complete effects of the creator economy will take some time for us to get used to.

A few trends brands should watch out for include creators moving their top fans off of social media networks and on to their own websites, apps, and monetization tools. There’s a rising trend of creators becoming founders, building out teams and assembling tools to help them start businesses while focussing on their art, creators gaining power in the media ecosystem as fans seek to connect with individual personalities rather than faceless publishers. 

An example is the role social media influencers played in the last US election, from getting people to register to vote, mainly because of the trust factor between them and their fans. 

If we look at India: YouTuber Mostly Sane aka Prajakta Koli has recently launched her exclusive merchandise. Mumbiker Nikhil with 3.69 million YouTube subscribers also has his merch under Label MN. And other creators like Roshini Kumar, famous on Instagram as Rosh has launched her online store ‘Rosh Pop’ as well. 

More than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators, despite the creator economy only being born a decade ago. (Source – SignalFire) It’s become the fastest-growing type of small business, and a report published on The Sun found that three-quarters of children say they would consider some sort of career in online videos.

Creators might have more choices but for now brand-influencer partnerships will never  stop.

Why?

In an April 2021 survey by influencer marketing platform Mavrck, 68.1% of US adult influencers identified brand collaborations as generating the most income for their business. Affiliate marketing was a distant second, cited by 9.3% of respondents, followed by ads (7.4%) and selling professional services like webinars, classes etc. (7.1%).

Brand deals are the main source of income for the majority of influencers. 

So,  how does the creator economy change the current dynamics?

The big trend we see here is that over time, creators are becoming more diversified in their revenue streams and are being funded directly by their fans.

Creators have shifted from being paid by platforms like YouTube with ad revenue shares in exchange for bringing in an audience to the platforms, to being paid by brand sponsors on Instagram and Snapchat in exchange for their reach to an audience they access through the platforms, to being paid by fans via patronage or tipping or ecommerce in exchange for entertainment and community beyond the platforms.

Lets dig deeper-  Brand Collaborations from the creator perspective or Influencer marketing from the agencies perspective, have been generating revenue for both parties. Creators partner with their favorite brands to raise awareness, inform audiences, or drive conversions online.

Let’s divide these creators further:

  • Affiliates: Industry experts with an authoritative publication channel working on a referral fee or commission structure.
  • Brand ambassadors: Exclusive brand champions with a highly-engaged online community posting in exchange for commissions, free product, or both.
  • Customer advocates: Brand community members that have a history of brand loyalty and a desire to take that loyalty to the next level in exchange for various exclusive perks.
  • Media producers (independent contractors): Talented photographers, videographers, or copywriters that can build eye-popping content at a modest rate for organic and/or paid social campaigns.

Problem with this is that byond 2021 its not sustainable, influencers or creators end up working with brands that they necessarily don’t support, only creators with 1 million+ subscribers or followers reap benefits out of it.

Average digital marketing revenue is usually divided into 3 parts now, content creation, digital marketing and influencer marketing. 

Creator Economy changes this with so many new features like Creator Tipping, Non-fungible Token Exchanges (NFTs), Entrepreneurial Intent.

The rise of niche creators 

In the coming years, creators will have the option to choose their monetisation stream, be it crowdfunding, fan-based sponsorships or even merchandise sales.

Their dependency on brand deals will reduce, but that does not mean that this relationship ends. Innovation on branded sponsorships i

This can bring an increase in demand for more creators who can collaborate with the brands. Niche creators – issue specific or location based creators will get more power and rband attention. 

Let me give you an example: 

A creator called Dental Digest who creates his own content only on dental hygiene on short form apps got 3 million subscribers in less than 6 month on YouTube, and now all dental companies want to hire him.

Localised and niche creators will rise, because they will have more space to innovate.

If brands want to create impact they need to go hyperlocal, and the creator economy will boost that, the hyperlocal creators will create more impact. 

At the moment,  most of the campaigns are centralised and mostly catered to the 1 percent of influencers (people with 1 million+ subscribers/followers). As the creator economy rises, more and more creators will come on board, and brands will have more options, they can work with diverse groups, in a decentralized way to reach more relevant audiences. 

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