May 1, 2015 Nick Cicero

The Five Events Sparking The Creators Revolution

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A revolution is a radical shift or change in ideas that take place in a short period of time. It’s a fairly simple concept, but easily overused and misunderstood. What’s really in a revolution? How do they take shape and become widely accepted? Before I go any further, yes the word revolution is so cliche (it might be one of the most overused words in society since probably…the American revolution). Still, I’m going to talk about the five events sparking the revolution building the #CreatedWith economy as we know it.

Rick Kash and David Calhoun bring up this topic of revolution in their book How Companies Win:

History shows us that most major industrial transformations, including the first and second Industrial Revolutions, were sparked by five events:

  1. A transformation in labor from craft guides to assembly lines, the rise of management and professional classes.
  2. A jump in productivity due to both the transformation of labor and the invention of new technologies and tools (factory vertical integration, computers, etc).
  3. A sudden expansion in markets.
  4. A change in where and how work was done, especially the movement of workers from farms and villages to city centers.
  5. A burst of entrepreneurship.

In the Creator’s Economy (much like Kash and Calhoun’s Demand-driven economy) these same five are at work and can be identified.

1. A Transformation in Labor

Pre-Industrial Revolution, you probably only had a couple shirts, because it cost so much precious time and resources to make these shirts — sourcing the material from afar, priming it for production, then hand production of the shirt and delicate care moving forward so it didn’t wear out.

Post-industrial revolution introduced machinery and workflow into the shirt business. Now more shirts can get made, and more people can wear shirts. When more people wear shirts the shirt makers create better designs and more colors, variety and personalization are integrated because you spend less time and money making sure the shirt is even going to get made to a level of quality worth selling.

It’s the same thing in today’s media and entertainment business, just replace the clean shirt with great content.

For more than a century the creation of any media to scale has widely been in the hands of a few skilled, privileged or highly trained workers. TV studios, video houses, etc on the production side, acting schools, dance classes and more on the talent side.

People releasing that content had to (and still do) spend a ton to train these people without any guarantee they’ll be successful.

By contrast, the new creators of today are coming up from nowhere, relatively inexpensive to get production-ready, and have fundamentally different technical skills than any traditional “talent” before them. They write, edit, produce and direct. They understand how to get the cool shots, and as digital natives having been immersed in content they know the difference between good looking content and junk. They take chances and test content with their audiences.

The decentralization of entertainment and the ability to build an audience from scratch is why we’re seeing complete amateurs come up from nowhere to become household names overnight and overtake the pristine world of production.

2. A Transformation in Productivity

The hard costs of putting content on tangible film reels, vinyl records and even print on paper meant that professional content wasn’t cheap, no matter who you were. And if you had the ability to afford to fund it you controlled the talent and content, good bad or other.

This resulted in a model of monetization and distribution to a few media outlets with mass audiences and not always mass audiences of individuals.

But that’s changing. New technology has turned anyone with an internet connection into a creator. A 16 year old can pick up an iPhone start shooting HD videos on their phone, open a Twitter or Snapchat account and can be reaching thousands within a half an hour.

3. A Sudden Expansion in Markets

It took the global marketplace more than 20,000 years to reach one billion consumer participants.

It only took eight years for both Facebook and YouTube to get a billion users exchanging content in their social marketplace.

These social sites brought society into new era of communication, publishing and most importantly establishing identity on the web. It got people sharing and discovering content, craving more and more.

The rise of the mobile marketplace people’s identity with them on the go, with more access to produce and consume rich content but also an increased ability to pay for things seamlessly, giving way to the content marketplace.

This means they’ll want to take more and more premium content with them on the go, or buy other things directly through content experiences meaning more creators can become exposed to new audiences to build and monetize their career independently. Things like advances in livestreaming also comes to mind.

4.  A Change In Where and How Work Is Done

For media, and creators, the change in where and how work is done lives in the distribution of content and the ownership of audience. The growth of OTT (over the top) Television, video on-demand services, and the increasing number of premium content platforms (Vine, YouTube, Snapchat) means more places for a creator to work than ever before.

The portability of their audience also means they can “work” in the places where they’re in more demand, driving up their value.

At a time when the $160 billion spend on live TV advertising is under attack, the industry is desperately looking for an alternative place to “work” themselves, and the audience of these creators is who they’re after.

5. A Burst of Entrepreneurship

When the major media networks failed to make the seamless transition to decentralized content and entertainment, many influencers and entrepreneurs alike rushed to fill the gap they expected the big boys to fill.

If you look at any of the top social media influencer profiles today you’ll probably see a line and an email about a business contact. It’s easier than ever for someone to start setting a rate for their audience and charging for the content. They know that if they gain a large following they could have a chance to make thousands in between sipping drinks at Taco Bell.

But influence isn’t just about having a ton of followers, which is why entrepreneurs like myself have been working to comb through the sea of creators to find and source the best talent, grooming the next generation of superstars.

Conclusion

The #CreatedWith Economy builds up the empowered consumer and their relationship with the content they consume. Audience is part of the experience rather than just a passive observer. It is that sense of involvement and ownership of the programming that allows for the growth of more invested fans, fans who can be relied on to be both a loyal audience and evangelists for a show.

Remember what I said about cliche’s before? Sure they’re overused but they didn’t get popular for no reason. This is a Creative Industrial Revolution in progress, a time of rapid growth and expansion that will dictate the tone of monetization for new waves of technology. Stories, audience and content are the raw material.

It’s a creator’s world. If you’re a creator reading this, this is your rallying cry. You are the future of entertainment. Get out there, build an audience and tell your story.

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