From YouTube to TikTok to Clubhouse, digital content creators have developed into an animating force in the media, communications, and technology industries over the past decade. And over time, a growing network of tools, products, and services have developed around content and social media platforms to monetize opportunities for creators—influencers, celebrities, artists, etc.— to earn income outside of traditional and ad-supported distribution channels. The economic relationship between creators and their audience is, in turn, becoming more straightforward than ever as fans pay directly for exclusive content, interactions, and experiences; with creator platforms sitting in the middle, earning revenue through each transaction.
Alongside social platforms, creators are turning to platforms such as Patreon, Cameo, Substack, and Teachable that prioritize paid content over freemium offerings and provide the opportunity to maintain a continuous engaging relationship with their audience from production, to discovery, to monetization.
Patreon had over 30,000 creators signing up within the first three weeks of March 2020, ending the month with a total of 50,000 new creators.
OnlyFans reported a 75% month-over-month (MoM) increase in sign-ups in April 2020, observing a daily increase of 200,000 users on average.
TikTok monthly US active users grew from 40 million in October 2019 to over 100 million in August 2020. Monthly global active users also grew from almost 508 million in December 2019 to nearly 690 million in July 2020.
Substack recorded a 60% rise in revenue and doubling of its user count within the first three months of the pandemic.
Cameo’s MoM revenue jumped 400% in April 2020 making April 2020 its first profitable month since its inception in 2017.
The creator economy largely revolves around videos, live streams, photos, and podcasts. Therefore the market segment covering these areas is more mature and therefore more highly populated with incumbents compared to the other segments.
However, new concepts in creator-fan interaction—primarily facilitated by membership providers—can guarantee monetization for creators unlike more established freemium and ad-supported models. This segment includes established disruptors such as Patreon, escapex, and OnlyFans—providing an alternative to video content and blogs. Most of the disruptors in this segment are membership-based with creators and fans able to offer and purchase a range of interaction options at different price points.
Amid a sustained interest in cryptocurrency, adoption of blockchain-related services including NFT (Non-Fungible Token) platforms have also gained traction as a new way of creator content monetization. This segment lacks incumbents and significant fundraising activity and therefore includes several Seed and Pre-Seed level companies.
The disruptors of the creator economy are bringing about more intimate channels for creator-fan interactions (such as Cameo, escapex, OnlyFans), in addition to platforms where individual creator monetization is guaranteed (such as Patreon, Substack). These disruptors enable creators to actively engage with their audience, predominantly via video or text, and have seen rapid growth, bringing fierce competition to existing incumbents.
Audioboom enables creators to host, distribute, and monetize their podcasts. Audioboom audiences can consume its content on multiple partnered platforms, including Apple Podcasts, CastBox, Spotify, Deezer, Google Podcasts, and iHeart, offering podcast advertising solutions as well. The company’s embeddable player also allows creators to share their content on their own websites and social media. Audioboom also has an in-house podcasting studio that produces shows such as ‘F1: Beyond the Grid’ and ‘What Makes a Killer’. The Audioboom Group PLC was listed on the London Stock Exchange in December 2005.
In February 2022 , Amazon and Spotify were both reportedly exploring bidding options to acquire Audioboom, a UK-based podcasting platform. Sources reported that Amazon and Spotify may present their formal offers in the near future.
Audioboom’s FY2021 revenue grew significantly by 125% YoY to USD 60 million. FY2021 adjusted EBITDA turned positive to USD 3.0 million, compared to an EBITDA loss of USD 1.8 in FY2020. The company also reported in January 2022, that it has already booked USD 45 million in ad campaigns for 2022.
Videos/ live stream/ photography/ podcasts:
Newsletters/ writing/ blogs:
Multiple facilities platform:
*Residual of creator earnings/sales value minus platform cut taken as a proxy and does not consider other applicable fees
Major social media platforms including Facebook, Google, Twitter, and ByteDance are all key incumbents in the creator economy as well as global internet companies Amazon, Spotify, and WordPress maker Automattic. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is a common path into the creator economy, with Google and Amazon entering the space solely through their acquisitions of YouTube and Twitch, respectively. Facebook, on the other hand, maintains dominance by purchasing startups with developers building social products.
No investor data is available