In this guest post, Steve Crombie (main photo), founder and CEO of Totem Network, puts in an impressive case for making and monetising content via social channels and argues that it’s no longer the job of the marketing department…
We are witnessing one of the most historic paradigm shifts on social media. In the 2010s, you had to pay to get attention – we all felt the squeeze as the algorithm shifted priority from organic to paid-for views. But in 2021, our social feeds primarily feature one thing – video. And most social platforms offer monetization options to creators for the video views they generate.
While domestic broadcasters clamour for a measly two per cent of programming dedicated to Australian content on domestic SVOD platforms, Australian creators uploaded 44.1 million videos to social platforms and generated 10.46 trillion global views in October alone. Meanwhile, YouTube spends $US10-plus billion annually on creator payouts, and this year Facebook announced their $US1billion creator fund.
Now a $US130 billion-dollar industry, the creator economy has benefits for traditional media partners that many continue to overlook. Whether you are a traditional media partner or a creator, the next few years may be the most lucrative in our lifetime.
Meet Social Video 2.0
After 10 years in the social video industry, I have never witnessed such a lucrative, and essential time for video rights holders and creators to utilise social advertising video on demand (social AVOD) platforms – namely, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat. Today, social video is a significant direct revenue stream for our clients, who regularly see revenue of up to six figures per month.
The average Australian under 40 watches four times as much online video per week than linear TV. Yet many media partners and creators are operating without seeing that social video can be a lucrative way to make money from content – all while keeping hold of your rights.
What are some takeaways Australian entertainment brands can tap into?
Media rights holders
Move social out of the marketing department
We speak with networks and producers every week who are still in the “social video = marketing” mindset. Social media is a cost centre relegated to interns in network marketing departments when it should be prioritised as a direct revenue stream. It can compete directly with traditional distribution and aid in identifying new markets (thanks to sophisticated data tools) whilst other sources dry up. By not utilising social AVOD, Australian media brands are leaving massive, untapped and highly profitable audiences on the table.
A survey by E&Y this year found that one in four TV and film networks executives think their companies will cease to exist in the next five years unless they reinvent their revenue model. NBC, meanwhile, has notably made ‘many millions’ since social monetisation became a central part of their strategy.
The future of TV is already here – it’s time to meet your audiences where they are.
Earn more by reinventing (reformatting) your catalogue
If you have a catalogue over 40-plus hours, it’s time to consider stepping away from the confines of in-season marketing cycles. Social video publishing can breathe new life into your catalogue and generate upwards of seven-figures in revenue per annum in the process. With the right strategy, insights and team, it is possible to extend the life of your catalogue indefinitely.
To make bank, don’t sell your soul – go cross-platform
Out of the 50 million creators that exist in 2021, two million rely on it as a full-time job. And yet, the typical lifecycle of a top 100 creator on any platform is no more than five years. Playing the long game is critical to ensure continued success.
Creators usually find fame on one platform and miss that critical next step – we hear over and over from TikTok creators who want to move to Facebook, or YouTube creators who want to try short form, but moving to a new platform with no existing audience and limited expertise on the algorithm, format and monetisation requirements can feel risky.
Many opt instead to saturate their pages by re-uploading stock content (via inferior partners) without consideration for what the platform wants or spamming their fans with brand partnerships – losing followers, enthusiasm, and shaving years off their lifespan along the way – all in the name of small, short-term revenue.
Through working with specialists, moving cross-platform using existing content, and tapping into monetisation on multiple platforms is not only possible but will supercharge audience growth while preserving the integrity of the creator channel. The knock-on effects of this are unparalleled – more access, bigger budget brand deals that can roll out less frequently, merch and memberships and even product lines.
Social AVOD is becoming a leading revenue stream for media partners and continues to reinforce the power of the growing creator economy. If you own video rights or are a social video creator, the next 12 months could be the most important year in your life, and with the right skills, knowledge and experience, significant new revenue streams are possible. The future is here, Australian media partners and creators need to embrace it or face getting left behind. So, what are you waiting for?
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