While social media transformed how people communicate with each other, it also created new ways for talented creators can reach new audiences (and sell their works for profit).
Content creators context
The content creator economy consists of independent creators, ranging from vloggers to writers to artists to influencers, who establish various enterprises designed to commercialize themselves, their skills, or their products. This niche market also includes companies that offer services to these creators, such as content development tools and analytics platforms. The platforms that support the creative economy, such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, also constantly add new features to lure influencers to use their applications (and, more importantly, these influencers' audiences).
The creative economy allows individual creators to earn significant sums from their work, compared to working in more traditional jobs or as freelancers where their earnings may not be as substantial. Leading creators can earn over $100,000 per post, depending on the size of their audiences and chosen medium.
Given the broad and amorphous definition of "creator," which could be anyone from hobbyists selling PDFs to experienced vloggers and graphic designers, estimating the size of the content economy can be difficult. According to data analytics firm Signal Fire, over 50 million content professionals operate within the modern content creator economy. Some of these creators have monetized their chosen platforms to the point where they have founded startups linked to the content creator economy. An example is Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast on YouTube, who founded Creative Juice in 2022 to provide banking and financial services to content creators.
Long term, the large audiences select influencers can build will position them favorably toward opportunities in news reporting, consumer business creation, consulting, and politics. During the 2020s, however, the advertising sector will continue to represent influencers’ biggest revenue opportunities.
For example, the content creator economy’s growing influence—particularly among younger audiences such as millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha (and indirectly Gen Alpha's parents and guardians)—will see brands increasingly shift their advertising spending from traditional mediums toward influencers. This shift includes businesses in different industries partnering with content creators or advertising on their channels during live streams to tap into creator audiences (i.e., Millennials and Gen Z) who are likely to gain economic supremacy by the 2030s due to demographic change.
Implications of the content creation economy
Wider implications of the maturing content creation economy may include:
- Digital media platforms leveraged by the content creation economy continuing to grow in size, revenue, and influence, assuming user growth and engagement can be sustained.
- Media platforms developing new monetary policies designed to retain social media influencers on their platforms.
- Ever more students pursuing a career in content creation instead of more traditional vocations, impacting labor market availability in niche industries.
- Influencers increasingly dividing their offerings and content between different platforms to reach different audiences and diversify their income.
- Influencers not only parlaying their clout into film and television roles, but as they enter their 30s and 40s, also into politics by running for office at the state/province and federal levels.
Questions to comment on
- Will “content creator” become a respected and established vocation in the future labor market? Or will content creation become an activity everyone participates in to some extent?
- Do you think young people properly educated about the viability and work involved with becoming a full-time content creator?