Fall 2023

Perspectives

PERSPECTIVES FALL 2023

Flipping the screen

The creator economy is producing staggering figures: from the number of digital creators, to the economic forecasts for this flourishing market (expected to reach US$480 billion by 2027, according to Goldman Sachs), to the steady shift of audiences towards user-generated content platforms.

A breeding ground for talent, creativity, and diversity, the digital creator ecosystem is shaking up the established order as younger (and older) generations embrace this content. Traditional media is paying close attention, and we are seeing the line between traditional and digital starting to blur.

Backed by the latest data and analysis, this first issue of Perspectives provides an overview of the forces at play and helps us better understand the dynamics at work in this race for audiences and attention that is rapidly reshaping our industry. While creativity and talent are central to both ecosystems—traditional media and digital creators—the modus operandi differs. Two distinct universes, different rules of the game, but collaborations are happening as we speak — as you’ll see in this issue.

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Chapters

CHAPTER 1: STATE OF PLAY

DEFINING THE CONTOURS OF THE DIGITAL CREATION ECOSYSTEM TO BETTER UNDERSTAND ITS GROWING IMPACT

As viewership figures only confirm the growing appetite of audiences for digital content, and YouTube now competes with Netflix for eyeballs, what do we really know about the digital creator ecosystem propelled by the rise of user-generated content (UGC) platforms? Containing the latest available data, Chapter 1 shows that the picture is not an easy one to paint. The ecosystem is varied and constantly evolving, with changing definitions (content creators versus influencers, full-time versus hobby, etc.). Evaluating the economic impact is even more complex as no single, methodologically sound study of this kind exists for the Canadian creator economy.

With that in mind, this chapter compiles and analyzes existing studies and data to define the contours of this ecosystem and help understand its growing impact.

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CHAPTER 2: THE DISTINCTIVENESS OF DIGITAL

MULTIFACETED BUSINESS MODELS, UNIQUE COMMUNITY DYNAMICS, AND THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD OF ALGORITHMS

Each medium brings with it distinctive features and new possibilities. This doesn’t mean a new medium simply replaces an old one. Digital content creation is a perfect example of this. Far from pitching processes, high production and distribution costs, or up-front financing, the digital creator ecosystem is a bottom-up system with a DIY production model. Considering creators’ ability to build communities and play with real-time data and analytics, it’s not surprising they’re closely linked to the “attention economy” where those who attract and retain the most attention win. Chapter 2 explores the rules specific to the digital creator ecosystem, with its multi-faceted business models, unique community dynamics, and the double-edged sword of algorithms.

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CHAPTER 3: CROSSOVER

EXPLORING THE INCREASINGLY BLURRY BOUNDARIES BETWEEN TRADITIONAL BROADCAST MEDIA AND USER-GENERATED CONTENT PLATFORMS

The differences between the digital creators’ world and the traditional broadcast industry don’t rule out crossover. Interestingly, crossover initiatives mostly come from either UGC platforms or traditional players. Major platforms like YouTube or TikTok are no longer hiding their expansion strategies, with both seeking to be on every screen, vertical or horizontal, while traditional broadcasters and funding agencies are developing initiatives to support this vibrant talent pool.

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Credits

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice, and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. To learn more, visit cmf-fmc.ca.

CMF Foresight and Innovation

Vice President, Analytics and Strategic Insights
Richard Koo

Senior Manager, Foresight and Innovation
Florence Girot

Coordinator, Foresight and Innovation
Corinne Darche

Content

Contributors
Leora Kornfeld
Hannah Antaki

English Editor
Emma W. Johnson

Translator
Anne Laguë

Visual

Designer
Trevor Stewart

 

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