200 years ago, earning money from dancing to a trending song on TikTok, making viral comedy skits, pranking people on camera, or simply creating make-up videos for an IG page of over 100,000 followers would have been unheard of.
Instead, shoveling coal into steam engines or saving lives in a hospital were among the preferred and “serious” means of making money. Even though there was no internet then to make a good comparison, artistic, creative, and profitable careers like circus performers were not made available to everyone.
From the information economy to the digital economy, gig economy, passion economy, and more recently, the creator economy, the internet has opened more gateways for every individual to give their highest form of self-expression and authenticity while making money at it. Now, everyone on the internet can be gainfully employed by expressing themselves without restrictions. Everyone can turn their authentic passions into revenue. Everyone can be a creator. Thanks to the Creator Economy
Understanding the Creator Economy
For the uninitiated, the definition given by HubSpot aptly describes what the creator economy is. The creator economy is an online-facilitated economy comprised of millions of content creators, such as social media influencers, videographers, bloggers, and other digital creatives. The creator economy also includes software and tools designed to help these creators grow and profit from their content.”
Let’s understand this better. The creator economy upholds 2 principles that were ignored in the past: Originality and Freedom. In the past, the ‘big media’ controlled what was being said and how it was said.
Journalists published news properly scrutinized by editors before they were put out. Only the media professionals could have an opinion aired publicly. Speaking of the media? What about the entertainment industry? A few tv series entertained billions of people around the world.
But the internet changed all of that. Today, audiences crave and celebrate content made by ordinary people like them. Human passions and interests can not be limited to the few tv shows or restricted displayed on the television (in the past).
In our time, honest, sincere, and relatable content that speaks to the inner interests or the creepy curious nature of people gets thousands of likes, followers, and comments sharing their stories.
People who create content are known as creators. Most of them display their creative prowess on third-party apps like Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, Medium, Selar, Gumroad, and OnlyFans and garner a following of the audience who are interested in what they offer. Creators earn revenue when
- An ad is being displayed while people watch their content
- The audience makes a paid subscription to their view of exclusive content. A report by Yahoo Finance estimated that 58% of the audience is willing to pay $1 to $15 to watch their favorite creators. Some Medium writers, OnlyFans creators, and Twitch users can make up to 7 figures annually.
- Brands partner with them to market their product (also known as influencer marketing)
- They sell their own products (digital or physical) to their audiences.
SignalFire, a venture capital firm, reports that about 50 million people around the world are part of the creator economy. 46 million of them considered themselves amateurs in the game. Chances are you are a creator yourself. Finally, people can follow their passions and what is unique to them without looking for other means to pay the bills(if they wish).
Now that we have a basic understanding of what the Creator Economy is, let’s niche it down to Africa, and Nigeria specifically.
What you should know about the Creator Economy in Nigeria
But first, what does the statistics available on the global creator economy tell us? On an average, the creator economy contributes 6.1% to the global GDP with a strong range of 2% and 7% across national GDPs in the world. The global creator economy is well worth over $100 billion, approximately $104.2 billion.
This figure is according to a 2021 research conducted by NeoReach and Influencer Marketing Hub. Contrary to popular opinion, the report also states that 40% of content creator employees are within the 30-40-year-old age brackets- definitely not the Gen Z’s!
For a country like Nigeria, the creator economy plays a big role in promoting the “fun” culture and to lighten the thick mood created by the economic situation.
Think of Brodda shaggi comedy skits, viral dance videos, pretty girls lip-syncing a trending song on TikTok, IG make-up artists, DIY YouTube videos, your favorite Medium writer, or creative video/audio beat mix using funny sounds or incomprehensible words made from prominent figures.
All these products are consumed, replicated, and are rapidly shared all over the Nigerian internet.
Without further delay, these 7 highlights should give you comprehensive information on what you need to know about the creator economy;
1). It’s in its boom season:
The creator economy in Nigeria is at a very high peak. 4.2 million Nigerians are currently employed by the creator economy. Another report states that Nigerians making millions on YouTube increased by 60%.
These figures cover only those who currently earn a livable income from the creator economy in Nigeria. It doesn’t include the several millions of Nigerian youths who create content for fun or are still trying to earn enough followers that would earn them money in the long run. Hence, a lot of Nigerians are diving into the creator economy. But, here’s the catch: a lot of people are running into the creator economy either to get famous or earn quick money.
In the process, they lose sight of originality (the main pillar of the creator economy) and just do what they see is trending online. But the audience can discern. They know what is fake/copied and what is real, and eventually stick with the creators that feed their desire for authentic content.
With a lack of enough followers, those who come into the creator economy with the wrong aim eventually leave the scene for the real creators.
2). Nigeria, and Africa in general are still a bit left out:
Despite the buoyant creator economy present in Nigeria, Nigerian (and African) creators are still left out from access to interesting apps (especially easy payment gateways) that would help ease the stress of these creators. Okay, let’s be real.
It’s not very easy for African creators to access their revenue from their third-party platforms. Most of these third-party creator apps, once, did not have payment gateways that were made available to creators from Nigeria and the emerging markets as a whole.
This is because discussions surrounding the creation of these functional structures(for example, payment gateways) are still centered on the West. The emerging markets are usually considered much later (more like an afterthought).
Although African FinTech startups, crypto platforms, and several other emerging companies are looking deep into solving this problem of creators (even some foreign gateways are now made available in Nigeria), this ‘afterthought’ phenomenon might still occur in upcoming revolutions in the industry. Again, there’s a high possibility that the emerging creators market will be the last to know or experience, just like before.
3). It’s the second largest employer in the country:
As stated in the first point, 4.2 million Nigerians are being employed by the creator economy. What makes this significant enough is that it is the second-largest employer in the country as reported by Jobberman.
It is set to employ an additional 2.7 million in 2027. Without a doubt, the creator economy is big and it is set to grow bigger in the future. Although, there are a few challenges such as the high cost of data, poor internet infrastructure, and others.
4). Entertainment is the number one reason for consumption:
An average Nigerian scrolls through social media apps to search for the latest content of their favourite creators. Entertainment, pleasure, and relatability drive audience consumption in this part of the world. However, information gathering still plays a considerable role in the consumption of content.
5). Marketers, this is for you!:
Influencer marketing is one type of new-age marketing that has increased the turnover of brands by a considerable amount. But these influencers are not the popular tv stars we are accustomed to.
These influencers are the creators who have gained massive trust and loyalty from a considerable number of fans. They are the ordinary people on the internet that ordinary people would love to support and act on any recommendation they put out.
Brands are aware of the power in the hands of these creators and optimally utilize it by reaching out to creators that specialize in their niche. But, beware! You would need a creator genuinely interested and in love with your brand to represent it well.
6). More Young People in Nigeria (and around the world) want to be creators:
No child wants to be a lawyer or doctor. That might be an exaggeration but children born into this age are catching in on what they have known all their lives. They’d rather be content creators, having fun, and fulfilling their passions, while making money out of it. The future looks bright with these aspirations and predicts bountiful growth in the creator economy.