People want to follow people, not content

Pub-sub platforms and trends around content creators and their fans

People want to follow people, not content.

This isn’t a secret. Pub-sub platforms (someone publishes content and others subscribe to it) are huge and growing. And now, business models are catching up. Which will grow the number of content creators.

The YouTube era of the early 2010s called these publishers “creators.” Alex Danco wrote a nice post on game streamers where he called them “performers.” On Instagram, they’re “influencers” and internet writers are just “bloggers.”

Big picture and across media formats, I predict consumption patterns to follow those of household goods: “niche consumption.” The market will support more creators over time while individuals simultaneously concentrate their consumption to fewer creators. The industry around creators will expand as costs to become a creator continue to go down and business models become increasingly viable and consumers benefit from more options leading to better satisfaction of their needs and interests.

From a business perspective, I expect competition to happen around trying to be the pub/sub platform. In blogging, Substack seems to be doing a good job taking market share away from Wordpress, Mailchimp, and the other services one would need to create a blog + newsletter. In games, Twitch has outmaneuvered game studios and other streaming platforms but as a greater share of gaming industry revenues flows to performers, the game makers will want to try and own the platform where consumers and performers meet.

Danco makes an apt comparison of gaming to music. Deadheads followed the Grateful Dead from venue to venue. Would you rather own an individual venue or the ticketing company? Both is how the music industry works today and both is how game makers would probably like it to be in the game industry too.

I’m not sure how this all plays out. Not sure how important cloud gaming or persistent state across games is (lean towards not thinking it’s that important). But I know that this is a trend to follow anywhere there’s content: educational, entertainment, professional, whatever. People want to follow people. And businesses want to be the place where they do that.