The Creator Cure

How Video Visionaries Can Save Legacy Media

The future of entertainment is a battleground of streaming services, each vying for subscriber loyalty with a constant barrage of content and marketing. Legacy media platforms, once the undisputed titans of entertainment, are struggling to adapt to this new landscape.  While some have pinned hopes for salvaging the dominance of the legacy entertainment companies on the recreation of new mega-bundles with user-friendly interfaces and more advanced curation, a crucial element remains largely unaddressed: cost.

The decline of the cable bundle can’t be solely attributed to technology and interface.  The stark reality is that content creation has become astronomically expensive.  This cost escalation, on both the production and licensing sides, makes it difficult to offer an “attractive price’ to consumers accustomed to the free (or low-cost) content readily available on YouTube and TikTok and, increasingly, on free ad-supported streaming (“FAST”) platforms like Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Tubi, Plex, and others.  So, how can legacy media bridge this cost gap and create a sustainable future?

Enter the Creators: Auteurs of the Digital Age

The answer lies in a force that’s revolutionized entertainment: creators.  Today’s independent creators are the modern-day auteurs, wielding immense power to build passionate communities around their unique content.  These digital visionaries have mastered the art of storytelling with inherently limited resources, developing compelling narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide.

Traditional media has attempted to capture this creator magic, but with mixed results.  While some collaborations have flourished, many have fallen short.  However, the tide is turning.  Several factors are converging to create a perfect storm, one that will see a significant rise in creator-made content seamlessly integrated with established distribution and monetization models.

Why Now is the Time for Creators to Shine

The specifics of this convergence warrant a dedicated discussion, but let’s explore some key drivers:

  • Audience Affinity: Creator-driven content enjoys a unique advantage – audience loyalty. Fans are invested in these creators, following them across platforms and eagerly anticipating their next project. Legacy media platforms can leverage this built-in audience to cultivate a passionate subscriber base.
  • Content Efficiency: Creators are adept at producing compelling content within budget constraints. This efficiency stands in stark contrast to the ballooning production costs plaguing traditional Hollywood. Legacy media can tap into this cost-effective approach to deliver high-quality content without breaking the bank.
  • Evolving Distribution Landscape: Streaming platforms have democratized distribution, offering creators direct access to global audiences. This bypasses the traditional gatekeepers of Hollywood, allowing creators to retain creative control and share profits directly with their fans.
  • The Power of Experimentation: Unburdened by the risk aversion that often plagues legacy media, creators are free(er) to experiment with formats and genres. This constant innovation can lead to fresh, engaging content that keeps audiences glued to their screens.

The Future of Entertainment: A Symbiotic Relationship

We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift.  Expect to see a surge in creator-made content on the platforms beyond YouTube, TikTok and Instagram – platforms offering a curated selection of high-quality content at an attractive price point.  The question remains: who will lead this charge?

While established Hollywood studios might eventually embrace this new reality, the impetus for change could just as easily come from new disruptors.  Regardless of the source, the shift is inevitable, and it will happen rapidly.

The Creator Economy: A Win-Win for All

The rise of creator-made content on legacy platforms presents a win-win scenario for all stakeholders.  Creators gain access to wider audiences and enhanced monetization opportunities.  Legacy media platforms revitalize their content libraries with fresh, cost-effective programming.  And most importantly, audiences are treated to a wider selection of engaging content at an accessible price point.

For companies willing to lean in to the disruptive force of creator-made content, the future of entertainment is bright.  By harnessing the power of creators, legacy media can reclaim its position as a leader in the content revolution – but by looking only inward, it will forfeit the mantle.  This is not just a matter of financial sustainability – it’s about embracing a new era of creativity and storytelling, one fueled by the passion and ingenuity of the digital age.

Josh Reader

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