TikTok-style video dominates online, sparking creativity crisis

TikTok-style video dominates online, sparking creativity crisis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new era of short videos is sweeping the internet, forcing all types of creators – from podcasters to photographers and editors – to adjust their media strategies.

why is it important: There have never been more opportunities to create content online, but commercial incentives are driving all kinds of creative individuals and businesses to pursue the same viral trends.

be smart“With TikTok, Instagram Reels and a few other new platforms, the addiction is platform,” said Sasha Kaletsky, co-founder of Creator Ventures, a creator-economy investment firm. “The user is not looking for any creator in particular, he is looking for entertainment” he told Axios on stage last month.

For creatorsthat means a big shift to quick and cheap behind-the-scenes videos.

  • television journalistseager to build new audiences as linear television fades, are leaning into “get ready with me” videos that show their morning routines.
  • Photographers post videos of their photoshoots and spectacular photo edits before and after.
  • Podcasters post videos of themselves interviewing guests in their recording studios which they hope will draw users to their shows on Spotify or Apple.
  • meme makers even tried posting meme images as short videos on platforms like Instagram to boost their rankings in the app’s algorithms.

By the numbers: A new report from mobile analytics firm data.ai reveals that users spend an average of 3.1 billion hours worldwide streaming user-generated content daily on mobile-native, short-form video apps like TikTok and Youtube.

Zoom out: Almost all of the user growth among teens online is going to short-form video apps. This means that the best shot creators can take to build an audience is to look into viral video trends, even if they are not video professionals.

Data: Pew Research Center;  Note: The 2014/2015 survey did not ask about TikTok, which launched globally in 2018, or YouTube;  Graphic: Nicki Camberg/Axios
Data: Pew Research Center; Note: The 2014/2015 survey did not ask about TikTok, which launched globally in 2018, or YouTube; Graphic: Nicki Camberg/Axios

How we got here: The explosive rise of TikTok during the pandemic and growing concerns over user data privacy have caused nearly every major social media company to fundamentally change their content distribution strategy.

  • Meta said in July that it would focus on recommending Facebook content to users based on what goes viral rather than increasing content based on social connections – a change that would transform the app so that ‘she looks more like TikTok.
  • “It’s only natural that social media will likely turn to referral media for the foreseeable future, because if social media supports ads, the most engaged content will be the one that generates the most ad revenue,” said Michael Mignano. , a creator economy investor at Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Yes, but: When he began rolling out these changes to Instagram – an app designed for photographers, artists and other creative professionals – users revolted.

  • “A lot of artists are having a really hard time with change,” Kaya Yurieff, a reporter for The Information who focuses on the creator economy, told Axios. “But they’re embracing video because they don’t really have a choice anymore.”

National Geographic, the most followed publisher on social networks, faces this pressure. “A lot of our incredible social reach is built on our strength on Instagram, which is built on our strength in photography, which is great,” National Geographic’s new editor-in-chief Nathan Lump told Axios last month.

  • “But obviously we know that video gets a lot of engagement on social media, and that’s where there’s a lot of growth in terms of engagement, users and social platforms. So we have to put much more emphasis on that.”

Between the lines: Social media platforms have a lot to gain in the long run by leaning into short-form video. But so far, user adoption of short videos has outpaced business opportunities for creators.

  • “Ad load on short video products remains low as platforms prioritize growing engagement over monetization at this stage,” MoffettNathanson analysts wrote in a note to clients earlier this year. .
  • BuzzFeed blamed this dynamicin part, for having to lay off 12% of its workforce earlier this month.

And after: There are still more people than ever creating new content, and some observers believe the advent of generative AI tools like Dall-E, Stable Diffusion, and ChatGPT will make it even easier for newcomers.

  • “The way I think about AI right now is that it’s a way to allow humans to create more and express themselves more, but it’s not a replica or a replacement for real human creativity. “said Mignano of Lightspeed.
  • But many artists are wary of generative AI. They oppose AI companies’ use of vast amounts of data, including copyrighted material, to train programs. And they fear that the new tools will make their difficult business even more difficult.

What they say : “There’s been a paradigm shift from mass-produced content to hyper-personalized one-to-one content, which is becoming easier and easier with these AI tools,” said Anushk Mittal, co-founder of the avatar startup. Generative AI Circle. Laboratories.

  • “I think this is an emerging area that we still need to explore,” Mittal said. “My perspective is that…we look at art all the time and that’s how you get inspired to create new art. It’s the same thing but instead of humans doing it, it’s a machine.”

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