Lost in the woods

The way we as consumers are watching/reading/listening to content has changed significantly in recent years and is continuing to change at an increasingly fast pace. Originally the concept of producing user-generated content was phenomenal; It brought a fresh wave of creators and catapulted platforms like YouTube into the forefront of people’s viewing choices.

Gradually, however, the cracks would soon appear with this remarkable revelation of self-produced content, as the platforms which hosted them would provide an excellent experience for viewers.

However, when it came to creators, these same platforms didn’t offer many ways to compensate for their hard efforts other than likes, views, and the chance to earn a living through advertising, which although was good, the capital one could once make from advertisement was shrinking due to the overwhelming popularity of being a creator, demonetisation, and censorship.

New platforms emerged in favor of creators

These platforms allowed people to access content produced by their favorite creators, mentors, entertainers, artists, singers, writers, and others who had something of value. From a creator’s perspective, this meant victory as they would have a more lucrative way of being compensated for the content they produce

However, seeds of freemium based content were planted and already grown as many people had been accustom to accessing their favorites without having to pay, furthermore; as the design of these new platforms were to help compensate creators, people found themselves asking a two-part question:
Why should I pay? And if I do pay what will make me stay?

The three bowls

When referring to Goldilocks’ story, we know through her discovery of the three bowls that the first or second attempt at something is not always perfect, which is not a problem in itself, as long as things change, develop, and move towards being just right. Let us take OnlyFans and Patreon as our examples, as they are perhaps the two most popular paid content platforms out there. They were trailblazers and proved that this was where the future lay for those who wanted to make a living doing what they loved, creating content for their fans.

Only fans

So what are those problems? They are numerous. First of all, the idea promises so much, but in reality, those promises are not always delivered on. The amount of “exclusive” content is not always that plentiful, or indeed that exclusive, offering little of value over and above the free content. The conversion rate is therefore low, and subscribers often do not stay subscribers. That is not such a problem for those creators with a huge following, but if you have followers that are counted in the tens, the hundreds or even the thousands as opposed to the millions, then a conversion rate of single digits is a problem. .

Pateron

The way the platforms feel, look, and can be used is another major issue. Subscribing to someone’s platform should feel special, but too many times it doesn’t, you are just in a slightly different, less crowded version of what you were on before. To continue with the Goldilocks theme, it is better, but it is still far from being just right.

The platforms that exist today have been built specifically to create a place where content creators can make a living. Thy are so focussed on that, however, that they have taken their eye off the ball that is in every way just as important as the content – the consumers. If they are not getting what they want, what they pay for, and what they expect to be getting by entering the next level, then they will leave and won’t come back. That does not help anyone. It is time for things to change. It is time for Goldilocks to move to the next bowl of porridge, the next bed.

Only fans

The next generation of platforms that offer paid content need to take the subscribers every bit as seriously as the content creators. They need to create genuine communities, with the creator at the head, but still very much an active, willing member. There needs to be interaction between community members and the creators and the community. This will result in the consumers getting real value for money, getting something way over and above what they are able to get for free. In turn, this will give content creators a space and opportunity to do what they love to do, and to build up a regular steady income doing just that. All this is very achievable, it just needs a slight change of emphasis.

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