How creatives can stay relevant as Web3 emerges – by Impact’s Fouad Abou Mansour

By Fouad Abou Mansour, COO, Impact BBDO

According to a 2022 Creator Report by Linktree, the popular social media reference landing page company, the potential size of the creator economy, traditionally defined as people who create social media content for a living, is over 200 million. That’s 200 million people—or a group almost half the size of the entire Middle East—who have a massive influence on consumers and media.

In recent years, the definition of the creator economy has evolved to include much more than content creation for social media. In a 2021 Future of the Creative Economy Report, Deloitte defined the creator economy as an ecosystem that comprises a wide range of occupations that generate wealth and jobs through individual creativity. This includes the traditional creative industries, such as film, publishing, museums, music, and the performing arts, as well as professionals working outside these industries in creative roles—this includes communications.

According to Social Media Today, the global creator economy is valued at a staggering $104.2 billion USD. This is good news for the Middle East—because we anticipated this and are already capitalising on it. During the pandemic, when most of the world was cutting back on arts and culture investments, governments in our region were making hefty investments, and they are still pouring billions into the creator economy, creating countless jobs and opportunities.

Why? According to UNESCO, the cultural and creative industries are among the fastest-growing sectors in the world, generating billions in annual revenues, creating millions of jobs, and contributing roughly 10 per cent to global GDP.

According to Fast Company, in 2021, 50 million content creators, curators, social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers worldwide were using digital platforms to monetise their content and using back-end support tools such as Patreon and Kajabi.

But with Web3, which decentralises power and deprioritises third-party platforms, on the horizon, how will the creative economy transform? Which platforms and tools will creators use to monetise their content? Will they just create their own within the Metaverse? How will content be presented and consumed? And how will content creators engage with the followers on this yet-to-be-defined platform?

Today, the current social platforms own the content that creators produce. Web3 may enable creators to own their content through the use of NFTs, or unique digital identifiers, which will become proof of ownership.

Creators, including professional communicators, will play a key role in this new metaverse. And in addition to participating in it, creators can develop parts of the metaverse using either tools. This has already started to take shape in existing gaming metaverses such as Roblox. On Roblox, anyone can create video games and monetise them directly on the platform. In 2020, game creators earned $329 million through Roblox alone. Metaverse creators will likely grow to become an active and profitable vertical of the creator economy in the years to come.

I anticipate Web3 enabling a world where people can make a living by producing work that they have direct ownership over without depending on centralised third-party organisations that exist today.

Communications professionals have been creating content since long before the advent of the Internet and will continue doing so as we accompany the digital transformation by upskilling ourselves—or fading out due to irrelevance. Communications is so much more than writing, media relations and events management. Fundamentally, it is the exchange of information using writing, speaking or some other medium. It’s vital for us to master both the messages and the mediums. There is an opportunity for us to partner with tech innovators to add value for clients and learn the skills required to integrate both skillsets. The future won’t wait for us to catch up.