The Creator Economy and Its Evolution, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Representative image (Source: iStock)

It’s hard to believe that just over a decade ago we relied on just a few media who zealously controlled the flow of news and entertainment on TV, radio and even in newspapers and magazines. magazines. Turbocharged by the ubiquitous penetration of internet and mobile phone technology, the past decade has seen a paradigm shift in the way we consume, and even created content for mass consumption. As social media took audiences away from traditional media, an entire generation of consumers became their virtual avatars, surfing the internet to connect with their peers to watch, listen and be captivated by people they could relate to and resonate.

The rapid change was nothing short of a revolution – a digital revolution that democratized the collection, creation and distribution of content to such an extent that it quickly outlived its own namesake, replacing the term ” digital economy” with the healthier “economy of creators”.

The ecosystem of creators:

The ultra-cool new “creator” ecosystem that conjures up images of the digital metaverse that empowers us as creators, encompasses a feat that was nearly impossible to imagine just a few years ago. Who could have imagined such unbridled exposure for the average person, where they become independent entrepreneurs, negotiating traditional barriers of age, gender, region, language, class and the like to turn their creations into big businesses marketed in digital landscapes.

Evolution of the economy of creators and social media platforms The creator economy has had its own unique trajectory.

As noted earlier, the shift in audiences and creators to web-based platforms became evident after 2010. As audiences shifted away from broadcast media, companies discovered that social media “influencers” emerged as viable options for marketing their products and services. This has created a minefield to attract maximum views allowing solopreneurs to turn their part-time hobbies into business ventures.

Building on the generation of influencers in which famous social media users were used to forge and maintain a polished image to showcase an ambitious lifestyle, smart creators quickly realized that they too had the means to be in the influencer space. All they needed was a well-connected mobile phone and something to present to the world. Over time, smart creators have learned to market themselves as a brand as well as a product. And it quickly evolved into a class of businesses built by millions of independent content creators, curators, and community builders.

According to some estimates, more than 50 million people worldwide consider themselves creators, and up to 41% of them earn an income of $69,000 or more per year. Closer to home, Oxford Economies, 2022 found that YouTube content creators alone contributed 6,800 crores to India’s economy in 2020.

This rapid boom can be attributed to the increase in social media exposure that inspires young minds to take up digital creation as a career when they grow up. The proliferation of digital channels, when designed properly, provides opportunities for many solopreneur platforms to showcase their talent and creates an ecosystem in which the resource and participants can thrive (Deloitte, 2020)

In this context, the evolution of social media from a simple messaging tool to an information market is also interesting. According to a report by Statista, considering the ease of internet access, the number of social media users in India stood at 518 million in 2020, a number that is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2040!

These resounding numbers are very encouraging for content creators everywhere. Also, since most content is created in the form of videos, the stats that these platforms’ video sharing features are most commonly used by people under 30 is another encouraging sign. The affordability of content creation tools for these platforms means it can clearly be anyone’s game. But with so much overpopulation, novelty and relativity, that’s what makes the difference.

Short-form video sharing apps have ruled the roost in this competitive space. Creators find it easy to convey their message clearly to their audience and consumers find the bite-sized capsules easy to digest.
Another interesting feature of the creator economy is its hyper-personalization in a virtual public space. Previously, content consumption was a communal affair, with families watching news, movies, sports, or entertainment within predefined time slots.

With the advent of smartphones, each individual has access to a personal screen. This allows the user to browse through a choice of content, find something they like, and consume it in their chosen space and time – a liberating experience for any consumer. This one-to-one connectivity with a person on the other side of the screen has also helped content creators target their messaging, while aiming to capitalize on a message’s virality.

Pandemic-induced surge:

As platforms proliferated – from short videos to audio-only podcasts and group chat rooms – people found themselves drawn to screens as consumers and creators. What many thought was a passing phase like the boom and bust of dotcoms, quickly became a constraint.

Fueled further by the pandemic, millennials have turned to social and subscription platforms both out of lockdown-induced boredom and to supplement their incomes during an economic crisis. Staying at home has forced everyone to use the avenues of online health, education, shopping and entertainment. Companies have partnered with a hybrid model of content creators to launch new products and services.

Marketed by the creators themselves as an extension of their content brand, this phenomenon has led to a curious evolution in which content being king, the content creator has become king. Of course, as with any space that becomes overcrowded, the edge is with whoever creates relatable narratives. What also gives the creator economy a unique advantage is its USP as a subset of the passion economy. This is because creators are usually people who can now earn an income doing something they are passionate about, which creates an emotional connection with the passive consumer.

The impact of this new breed of content creators is evident in their growing dominance over mainstream media, many of which have themselves been forced to reinvent their media offerings, develop a digital avatar and expand into the OTT space using the talent of this new breed of popular creators.


Since the creator economy tends to give the user more agency, it’s unlikely to fade away as a passing fancy. The convenience, creativity and friendliness it offers in a growing solitary virtual world are too valuable to be lost in the new millennium. Plus, since it doesn’t try to mess with social media algorithms, creators can choose what content they adopt.

The affordability of content creation also allows them to test new concepts as MVPs, reducing investment risk. The human element means they’ll always try something unique and their gig status means they won’t have to fight bosses to create “trendy” content. While collaborations will undoubtedly continue, it would be essential for companies to remember that subscribers pay to have access to someone’s talent or unique voice and that it is essential to keep the creator at the center of the story. ‘Warning.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and does not necessarily endorse them. will not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.

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