By Azaan Feroz Sait
India – a land of stories, both told and untold, gifted storytellers and countless mediums of storytelling. Conjuring this image in your mind might not be an uphill task, as the culture of storytelling has had its own rich history and content that has been carried through generations. But what is interesting to note is how it has been reimagined over the last decade with the advent of the creator economy and its coincidence with the arrival of Web 2.0. In a web of unlimited possibilities, we are now inching toward Web 3.0. So, what does it mean for the creator economy at large?
First off, what is the creator economy? Imagine an ecosystem of content creators, curators, and community builders who are not only investing in their passion but are also building a following and eventually monetizing their work.
Creators are empowered to make a career out of their passion while turning their audience into a real asset – a community to engage with. With workplace practices having transformed over the last two years and a boom in the gig economy, the creator economy witnessed a sudden influx of ambitious creators. They had an opportunity to double down on their core competency of creative expression while enjoying a certain level of financial independence. With almost unlimited internet consumption in India, disruption in the creator economy is expected to be unparalleled!
According to a report, in India, the influencer market is estimated at $75-150 million a year compared to the global market size of $1.75 billion. It is safe to say that India’s creator economy can potentially dominate global markets in the coming years.
Here’s why the advent of the creator economy is more than just a fad.
Endless Prospects for Start-Ups to Tap into
If we were to inspect the investment trend in India, it continues to address the creator economy that is still focused on discovery. Other countries are already supporting start-ups that help creators monetize faster. India will need to add more layers to its creator economy via start-ups that can cater to different kinds of audiences. For instance, start-ups that design creator marketplaces to service a niche within the creator economy; start-ups that build tools to help influencers launch their own D2C brands; start-ups that are working on new ways for creators to not only connect with the audience but also distribute their content. The opportunities are endless!
Support and Diversify, Giants!
On the flip side, let’s take a look at what social media platforms can do better. Creators are now solely dependent on these platforms and are looking for improved ways to engage, build and retain their audience. Achieving a more equitable creator economy would be possible when these giants use direct user-generated income as a monetization strategy. They can shift their focus to profiting ad revenues from the largest brands in order to encourage upcoming creators. Another interesting trend would be to witness new social platforms increase competition and force big social platforms to diversify the revenue models, as has happened in India.
Emerging Tech Amping Up the Excitement
While content monetization (especially community-driven content) has contributed vastly to the immense growth of this economy, emerging tech has amped up the excitement in the playing field of creators and brands alike. Industries such as the metaverse and live streaming are still nascent in India. Not only will the experience become increasingly immersive, social, and real-time, but the number of creators who craft them will increase multi-fold.
Furthermore, when creators are equipped with a suite of integrated tooling, social networking, discovery, and monetization functions, to craft experiences in a decentralized manner, it becomes more impactful.
So, where are we heading?
Investments made now will determine what the future holds: one that offers the greatest variety of experience, powered by creators who earn a living at it, or one defined by the next wave of rent-takers. Coupled with Web 3.0, experts believe that it brings more transparency and democratization to the digital world. It may establish a decentralized digital ecosystem where creators will be able to not only own but also control their digital presence. It will be thrilling to watch creators, empowered by platforms designed for them, seize colossal economic prospects, in such an open digital ecosystem – the advent of ownership economy.
(The author is founder and chief happiness officer at The Hub, Bengaluru. Views expressed are personal.)