Creator economy has shifted content power from traditional media to individual creators: Ayush Shukla

In a conversation with, Ayush Shukla, Founder of Finnet Media expressed his feelings over his debut at the Cannes red carpet, the key trends of the creator economy, the importance of authentic content and the possibility of ads coexisting with branded content

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Ayush Shukla

Ayush Shukla

Delhi: At the age of 24, Ayush Shukla, the founder of the creative agency Finnet Media, will make his red carpet debut at the Festival De Cannes, making history as the youngest creator economy entrepreneur.

 "It's truly humbling to represent the creator economy and our country on the global stage of Cannes,” he said. “I never envisioned, hailing from a tier 3 city, that I would one day attend such a renowned global festival like Cannes. I am deeply honoured to play a small part in promoting our rich cinematic heritage and fostering meaningful connections with fellow creators and industry leaders."

From the beginning

The pandemic gave birth to Finnet Media in 2021. 

“We chose the name "Finnet Media" to reflect the core values of finesse and network, which guide the company's actions and align with its mission of empowering creators and enabling brands,” he added. 

The journey started with just two creators in the year 2021 to currently managing India's finance and infotainment creators of India like Sharan Hegde, Anushka Rathod, Think School, Shreyaa Kapoor, to name a few.

“Our focus on data-driven strategies and personalised creator-brand matches sets us apart. By prioritising authenticity and long-term relationships, we’ve built a reputation for delivering impactful and engaging campaigns,” Shukla noted. 

Intersection of films and creators

Talking about his debut at Cannes, Shukla drew connections between a content creator present at a film festival and remarked that creators help bring a fresh and dynamic perspective to the festival.

“Their presence increases the festival's reach and visibility, making it more accessible and relatable to global audiences,” he added. 

According to him, the Cannes Film Festival is synonymous with being a spotlight on fashion. 

Content creators help showcase different designers and the rich culture of India, highlighting the festival’s intersection of cinema, culture and content.

The ‘Creator economy’ renaissance

Shukla believes that the creator economy has revolutionised content consumption by shifting the power from traditional media to individual creators. The shift, powered by a drive for authentic and personalised content, has led to a more interactive and engaging experience.

Talking about the key trends he predicts in the dynamic creator economy space, he mentioned the rise of micro and nano-influencers, the increasing importance of video content, and the growth of niche communities. 

He laid emphasis on authentic content and said, “There’s a shift towards more authentic and transparent content, as well as the use of AI and data analytics to enhance content strategy and performance. Brands are also investing more in long-term partnerships rather than one-off collaborations.”

Time to say traditional advertising, goodbye?

Talking about authentic content, Shukla talked about the growing prevalence of branded content and brand integration. 

In the tug-of-war between brand integrations and traditional advertising, the latter seems to be taking all the punches. However, Shukla opined that both of these forms of promotions could co-exist and brands can use creative storytelling to integrate their messages more naturally into content that resonates with viewers.

Taking the ‘consolidation’ route

With a rise in creators in the creative space and numerous influencer agencies making their presence known to leverage the opportunity, consolidation of agencies seems to be the route according to Shukla. 

“Larger agencies will acquire smaller ones to expand their reach and capabilities, leading to more comprehensive service offerings. This trend will help standardise practices, improve transparency, and provide better support for creators,” he added while noting that there will always be room for niche agencies that offer specialised services and cater to specific communities.

Resting branded content queries with ‘Restless’ 

Explaining the world of branded content to be both entertaining/educating while also promotional, Shukla used the example of his podcast ‘Restless.’

Beyond being a marketing tool for Finnet Media, it aims to provide valuable insights, stories, and discussions that inspire and educate the audience. 

Shukla emphasised that while it may be promotional, the primary focus is on creating meaningful content that resonates with listeners, shares industry knowledge, and showcases the journeys of various entrepreneurs and creators like Anupam Kher, Aman Gupta, Anupam Mittal, Namita Thapar and more. 

‘Finesse’ of filtering fake followers

Shukla revealed that in the era of having paid followers to enter the ‘influencer’ bandwidth, Finnet Media uses advanced analytics tools to vet creators, ensuring they have genuine followings and engagement. 

He added, “We also educate our creators about the importance of maintaining authenticity and building real connections with their audience. By focusing on quality over quantity, we ensure our partnerships deliver true value.”

What’s new at Finnet?

Recently, Finnet Media has restructured operations by dividing talent management and brand solutions into two distinct business units. The company has also involved experienced hires over the past six months and also built an in-house PR team. Recently, the agency’s focus shifted to lifestyle, fashion, and travel sectors, collaborating with creators like Darshan Wairkar, Rahman Khan, Garima Goel, Jesus Mehta, and brands such as Boat, Poco, and Freakins.