Night Light | 2023 Creator Review

The 2023 Creator Year In Review

6 months ago I put out a statement on the future of the creator economy, and while we are seeing some dips in CPM and spending on brand deals, we’re extremely optimistic about 2024. Here’s what we’ve learned about the creator economy from the last year:

Power Was In The Hands Of Creators:

This year we saw a lot of changes to monetization on platforms. We saw a YouTube Shorts revenue share, Twitch introduced a new 70/30 split after receiving backlash for new banded content rules, and countless streamers signed big, exclusive contracts with Kick (the newest livestreaming platform to join the streaming wars). I’m seeing a clear indicator that content creators are demanding better monetization opportunities from platforms. Even a few weeks ago Twitch ended its exclusivity clause in its partner program prompting streamers like Ludwig to return to the platform.

We’ve also seen some platforms fall short, especially with short-form. I’m still seeing low revenue share for TikTok and YouTube shorts, and I think it’s only a matter of time before creators begin demanding more from the platforms that they’re supporting. In 2024 I think this trend will continue.

We Changed The Way We Watch YouTube:

The way I watched YouTube in 2023 has been drastically different from other years. Before I’d be looking for specific videos from popular creators, now I’m sitting down and browsing YouTube like I would Netflix. We’re getting tired of the same formulaic YouTube videos, clickbait, and tired challenges. Creators are changing how they film their content, Sam Sulek has taught us that you don’t need fancy editing or follow the rules to keep the algorithm happy.

This answer from Emma Chamberlain nails our current feeling right now. 2024 will be the “Era of Videos” and not the “Era of Creators”. Niches will become more important, education more valuable, and personal brands will be prioritized over views.

We’ve Seen A Lot Of New Creator-Led Brands:

It seems like every week there’s a new creator product sold on the market. Creators are going into snacks, energy drinks, books, makeup, clothing and so much more. It’s never been more clear to me that this is where the future is headed. They understand organic content, there’s little marketing startup cost, and they’ve already connected with their audience.

Creator-led brands have gone mainstream in retail - you can’t walk down an aisle in Walmart now without seeing Feastables, PRIME, Chamberlain Coffee, Moriah Elizabeth’s plushies and Happy Dad seltzer. There were also ton of new products introduced too, like FaZe Blaze Charge chocolate and Be Happy Snacks from the D’Amelios. I’d expect to see more of this happening in 2024.

Creator Events Need To Deliver:

There were a lot of big creator events this year, but two stuck out in my mind for not exactly delivering on all the hype created. Although it came down to more of a logistics/sanctioning problem, Chessboxing was cancelled for 2023. I think we’re learning the scale and expectations for big creator events. Creator Dodgeball was a lot of fun to watch, but it only peaked at 125K concurrent viewers (less than half of 2022 Chessboxing’s 315K).

We did get the Logan Paul v Dillon Danis fight. With 1.3M PPV buys (allegedly), it made it in the top 20 PPV buys of all time (also allegedly). It’s no question that people were unhappy with the title fight, with some going as far as saying it wasn’t even a real boxing match. I know a lot of this was out of Logan’s control, but I think creator events (especially in the boxing/MMA space) are really going to have to deliver in 2024.

Kick Does Numbers in Year 1:

We got to see Kick’s rise in popularity this year. Keeping 95% of the rev share was big news when other live streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube were giving significantly less back to creators. Back in June the big contracts started to come in (xQc’s $100M deal) almost doubling the watch time on the platform.

However, since August we haven’t seen too much growth and things have been stagnant. I do think Kick plays an important role in the live streaming space. It’s run by creators, gives top creators a higher ceiling for earning big money, and it’s a place to push the rules with a more lenient TOS. They’re the wildcard newcomer. Just within the last few days some news broke that the Sauber F1 team will be called Team Kick Sauber. I think we’ll see some bigger moves in 2024

AI Came, And Was Kinda Mid:

We all knew it was coming. During the Made on YouTube event it was announced that AI features were coming to YouTube. It would be generating topic ideas, aiding in YouTube search, and helping to dub content in other languages. I’ve seen other creators use AI tools to edit videos and generate thumbnails.

Even with all the features coming out, I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of it. It’s adoption has been slower than we thought and I think a majority of people are editing and creating without the help of AI. There were also plenty of terrible things to come out of all this. I’d expect the same in 2024.

I want to thank you all for reading our newsletter each week. Keep an eye out for the next edition where I’ll share my creator economy predictions for 2024.

Creator News

Man is slonkin’ eggs like Patches O'Houlihan

How Toys and Colors came out of nowhere
November’s most viewed YouTube channel punches well above its weight.

Rap ruled the internet in 2023
Looking forward to what Kai and team come up with in 2024.

Can't Miss Clips

Bout time…

Fortnite’s 6-year transformation
Peter Griffin’s media takeover is upon us.

Microsoft Excel proving people can get hyped on just about anything
Andrew, if you’re reading this: please apply for any of the jobs linked below.

Business & Entrepreneurship

Photo Credit: The Verge

E3 is shutting down for good
Sad to see a great event go.

MrBeast launches ViewStats, a data tool for creators
Using the Estimated Revenue feature will make us all become creators.

Creator Economy campuses coming to a city near you
A shifting paradigm on pre-professional education.