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With the advent of models like Substack and Patreon, creators are able to monetise their work even before they hit scale in terms of follower count, shared Karthik Nagarajan, Head of Branded Content, GroupM in MMA-GroupM’s Modern Marketing Reckoner.

Karthik Nagarajan

He further wrote, “Which is exactly where things need to be for this ecosystem to flourish. This continues to be the shape of things to come, with podcast subscriptions, Tumblr tips and many such pilots becoming successful. We are entering an era where this subscription model will become stronger, more viable and co-exist with advertising-driven models.”

Nagarajan wrote in the report that creator monetisation has also gotten a shot in the arm with the success of NFTs. Many argue that in NFTs, the blockchain ecosystem has found a killer app. Though it might not seem like that presently with almost every celebrity under the sun using it as a checkbox and flooding marketplaces with assets with zero utility, when the dust settles on this, creator monetisation will be the key, long-term utility of this tech. 

Another emerging trend around us is also what is happening to organisational cultures where the content creation community is involved. While the pandemic has made all of us assess our career choices in a way that never happened earlier, it has particularly impacted the creative vocation, especially those in the digital industry. 

He said that more creators are able to take up their social media content as their principal vocation and not just as a side hustle. “This ‘gigifying’ of the creator economy has now been made more viable with content marketplaces (e.g., platforms like Pepper content) and DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations). The latter are organisations that exist entirely within the metaverse. They get paid in crypto and their workplace is platforms like Discord and their organisational culture is devoid of the complexities of a physical workplace. The future of content gigs will be organisations like these.”

He then pointed out how commerce is becoming an integral part of the influencer/creator's journey. The zero moment of truth or the first brand experience for many customers, especially in Tier-II towns, is becoming influencer content. “In most cases, the KPI of this content especially among D2C clients is becoming real leads and conversion and thanks to platforms like Trell in which commerce is a feature by design, this trend is becoming as much a Tier II and III phenomenon as it is a Tier I. In summary, we are well and truly into the era of creators driving the digital economy. Brands will not only need to recognise this but also find ways of retooling themselves for this ecosystem.” 

He then went on to write that the best and the most perceptible evidence of this is that audiences' choice of platforms today is driven more by the richness of creators on them than the presence of friends. This re-emergence of the creator will also herald a more inclusive internet that might necessarily be driven only by 2 or 3 big platforms but a more fragmented social media in India.