You know the creator economy is big when Facebook has to announce a new monetization tool for creators.
These are the new monetization updates:
- Earn revenue from short-form video: Makes it possible to monetize all video types. Facebook is also testing sticker ads in Stories.
- Opening monetization to more content creators: Updating in-stream ad eligibility so more video creators can access the program, opening access to in-stream ads for Live and expanding paid online events and fan subscriptions to more countries.
- Accelerating fan support: Making it easier for content creators to access fan support while growing consumer adoption via free Stars giveaways to viewers.
Sure, it all sounds helpful, but Facebook will be rolling out these changes in batches to various countries, and if you, like me, come from a smaller Central or Eastern European country, these features may not arrive for months, or maybe years.
Why is Facebook doing this?
As Sarah Fischer at Axios put it so well, the success of platforms that prioritize creators like TikTok, OnlyFans and Substack has led to a mad dash of investments from tech companies into products that help creators monetize their audience.
Think of it this way: the biggest social networks out there have long prioritized the big influencers on their platforms. If you were a celebrity, you would not have a problem getting by and earning money.
The same was true for most global media, as they were among the first to be enrolled in new monetization programs. To be fair though, none of those that I have heard of have taken off in a way that makes a significant impression today.
Facebook and others have introduced several programs over the years for publishers to get paid. Essentially all those efforts have been small experiments, and were never rolled out permanently across markets. There was never a real change, allowing media entities to earn substantial and reliable revenue from social networks.
Now, with pressure from other emerging platforms, things appear to be changing.
The million-dollar question: How can I monetize that?
Also, Taylor Lorenz at The New York Times published a fascinating roundup of startups that have sprung up to address the gap between the popularity of creators and the ability of their fans to pay them directly.
One of the examples is NewNew, an app that lets creators poll their audience on what they should do and, in effect, let them control their lives. In order to vote, you need to purchase “voting power.” One vote will cost you one dollar.
Courtne Smith, the founder and chief executive of NewNew, told The New York Times that they are building an economy of attention, where you purchase moments in other people’s lives, and they take it a step further by allowing and enabling people to control those moments (by paying for the ability to control).
Lorenz goes on to document similar startups, like PearPop, which lets you pay someone famous a small fee to interact with you. Think of it as a way to pay an influencer to increase your klout by commenting on your video or liking it.
These and other apps are emerging because the popular social platforms (YouTube is the only OG example with a direct way to earn money) so far haven’t offered a straightforward way for creators to earn money (you can count media in here as well).
The new generation is much more business-oriented than we realize
A few months ago, a couple of high-schoolers reached out to ask my podcast co-host and me to go on their new show (we do a popular weekly technology podcast in Slovakia).
So, as anyone who gets asked to go on a show, I listened to a couple of their episodes. It was just two guys talking to each other about school, their life, and their interests (technology & gaming).
But one moment struck me — they were already talking about how they could be earning money by doing the podcast. They understood they needed to grow their audience and they realized that getting more popular people than themselves is one of the best ways to get your show out there.
I meet more and more journalists who understand this, but also many that just aren’t interested in understanding the modern business of journalism and media. It took me years to understand it as well, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I met these high-schoolers who just got it.
And it’s not just me realizing this, it is also Twitter, Facebook, and others scrambling to adjust and come up with ways to retain the young talent who would otherwise find an alternative.
And we all know what happens if you lose the young generation — just ask MySpace.
This piece was originally published in The Fix and is re-published with permission. The Fix is a solutions-oriented publication focusing on the European media scene. Subscribe to its weekly newsletter here.