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How to capitalize on the growth of content creator platforms

Americans are limited with international travel — but that’s not stopping them from going abroad for content.

What’s happening: More Americans are engaging with foreign content — particularly streaming video, social media, TV, and movies — than ever before, according to data from Parrot Analytics, a global content demand analytics company.

The blossoming creator economy, valued at $10 billion, has been the main driver of the shift in American behavior. According to Axios, Americans’ demand share for non-U.S. content has increased each quarter since 2019.

Why it matters: Indie hackers outside the U.S. can capitalize on Americans' growing appetite for international content.

The pandemic and its prospective end, however, presents uncertainty for the content industry. Although daily time spent consuming content has doubled globally — from 3.28 hours to about 7 hours since March of 2020 — habits can change if the world opens up. After all, that growth includes a 48 percent increase in social media and a 47 percent increase for news sites and streaming services.


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Specific creator platforms are in flux:

  • YouTube has seen the greatest increased traffic, with 43 percent of consumers spending more time on the platform.
  • TikTok has seen the highest growth with an 18 percent increase in the 18 - 24 age group.

Creator economy grows: Since March of 2020, several major creator platforms, including Substack, OnlyFans, Twitch, and others, have swelled in growth. And their expansion doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping.

In 2020:

  • Substack doubled its paid subscriptions and now has more than 500,000 paying customers.

  • OnlyFans is expected to rake it $300 million in profits and added an additional 5 million users, bringing its total user base to about 90 million.

  • Twitch grew its active user base by 155 percent, up from 3.3 million in December 2019 to 8.5 million in November 2020, per Twitchtracker.com.

  • Patreon now has 6 million paying subscribers, raised $90 million, and earned a valuation of $1.2 billion.

  • Cameo grew mobile app use by more than 450 percent and enjoyed more than 2 million app downloads.

In short, the future looks bright for creators and indie hackers across the globe as traditional barriers continue to be toppled.

Will a prospective end to the COVID-19 pandemic negatively hit the creator platform use? Please share your thoughts.

  1. 3

    I agree, it looks good right now, but...

    We've seen platforms like this look favorable for creators before. Then, when they hit a critical mass, they turn the screw and take increasingly larger margins and exert more control (I'm thinking mostly of YouTube in recent years).

    Now, that doesn't mean there isn't still some space to join a platform as a creator and make a few bucks, but if it were me, I'd either sell the platform or tools instead. As the saying goes:

    During a gold rush, sell shovels.

    1. 1

      not everyone can sell platform or tools, can't they?

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