Democratization of content creation outpaces ability to monetize

Unprecedented access to low-cost content creation and distribution has blurred the lines between “amateur” and “professional” creators. However, despite broader access to creation and distribution, research shows that the top 3% most viewed channels on YouTube account for 85% of all views, indicating that ad-based monetization models predicated upon discoverability and engagement remain out of reach for the long tail of creators.

Top creators will continue to benefit from ad-based models as well as subscription models and licencing opportunities. To sustainably integrate the long tail of creators, distributors will experiment with new monetization models, such as merchandising and micro-donations, and new discovery models, such as algorithmic feeds independent of social graphs.

Image : World Economic Forum

Niche content finds a global audience

We are in a golden age of creativity with more outlets for distribution than ever before. At YouTube, when our creators succeed, we succeed. We can deliver value for advertisers and share that revenue with our creative community to everyone’s benefit.

—Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, YouTube, USA

User-generated content (UGC) becoming a mainstream marketing tool

media, entertainment, consumers, digital, regulation
Smaller content creators are receiving an ever-larger cut.
Image : Getty Images

Stakes around unchecked content get higher

  • Fine line between pluralism and tribalism: As media organizations are increasingly expected to take stances on social issues, many have become split along political and demographic lines, driving polarization that is accentuated by existing social platforms with insular social graphs and new platforms, such as “free speech” social network Parler, that have emerged to serve tribal audiences.
  • Weaponization of UGC: The authenticity and reach of UGC is being weaponized to sway public opinion around contentious issues, while the metrics and algorithms that drive UGC recommendations are drawing scrutiny from government actors.