How do you make money in the emerging creator economy? Who better to answer this question than street-level entrepreneurs who were on duty working the show floor and environs on June 22 at Vidcon, fan convention for creators and influencers held annually in Anaheim, Calif.
If you’re going to hawk a product or service all day at a convention, you’d better master the 60-second pitch. The seven street-level entrepreneurs who spoke to Variety‘s for this week’s “Strictly Business” podcast offered insights into where the opportunity is and where the market is heading for creators and influencers who aim to ply their trade largely virtually via social, streaming and e-commerce platforms. The companies represented are involved in distribution, technology and visual effects, e-commerce, marketing and promotion and matchmaking between brands and influencers.
Here’s a sampling of observations:
From Annette Lapham, head of marketing for DeepMotion 3D animation firm, on the use of AI in content creation.
“We see it as a tool. People can use it as a tool. Even animators, we work directly with animators, and they use it as a tool to really cut out a lot of that hard work that can now focus on the elements of their craft that can involve like polishing and making things really refined. But as to where we’re going with generative AI, we’re about to announce a new product of ours, generative AI animation. And so we think about how easy it would be to do just input text alone, and create animation. That’s kind of the direction where we’re going,” she said.
From Nathn, growth marketing manager for MyShop, an e-commerce platform owned by China’s DHgate.
“This is what we call social commerce. And right now, the three main problems is like the link sharing is an organizational nightmare. The payments, usually every platform pays the same and it’s kind of hard. And also the art of choosing the next product you’re going to talk about, it’s usually a guess work. We want to help you. We have like AI technology that will analyse content from platforms in Asia, from Tik Tok, etc. And we give you recommended trends depending on your niche. So if you’re a makeup creator, we’ll give you some makeup tools that are viral in Asia or viral over regions of the world that you should maybe consider checking and making content about,” he said.
From Jeff Ruby, head of sales for StreamYard, a stream-hosting platform that makes it easier for creators to incorporate professional touches into their feeds.
“The likes of streamyard, some of these other platforms that allow, because we’re not we’re not competing with the YouTubes and the Twitch of the world. You’re using our platform, so it looks more professional when you’re producing your content on those platforms. Right. So I think it’s a differentiator, right? I could be in my basement with a phone or I could be having very high quality video with my branding, call to actions, brand deals, things like that,” he said.”
From Mike Diaz, long-time staffer at the Mogul Moves merchandise company run by prominent YouTuber Lugwig Ahgren.
“We were thinking about the idea of adding on more clients and what that looked like. And I think we ultimately decided that the scale-up to have a company that’s profitable and that is just making merch for other people is only really profitable in a meaningful way at a very high number, which is what we didn’t want to do. So this is more of like, we make more boutique-esque like cut-and-sew items for a small number of creators now. So that’s what we do.”