What Will the Rest of the Year Hold? 🔮

Our hot takes on the creator economy

Good morning. Creator revenues from merchandising, subscriptions, and tipping have at least tripled from 2021 to 2024, according to a new report from trend tracking site Research and Markets. If there were ever a time to buy stock in your favorite creator, it might be now.

P.S. We’re off Friday for the holiday weekend. See you on Monday!

Breaking Down YouTube’s Culture & Trends Report

YouTube shares its culture and trends report centered around fandom / YouTube

YouTube released its annual Culture & Trends report this week, surveying over 1,000 users in partnership with research company SmithGeiger. Here’s what you need to know →

65% of Gen Z identifies as video content creators, up 25% from last year. Worth noting: Only 8% of those self-proclaimed video content creators said they earn money from their content.

Fan content is growing...57% of respondents watched videos made by fans of specific content in the last year. Meanwhile, 66% of Gen Z spends more time watching react material than the original content that inspired it.

…And fan content is also shaping culture. YouTube noted that fan interest powered animator VivziePop’s Amazon Prime Video show Hazbin Hotel to the largest debut for an animation series in Amazon’s history.

Niche is still king. Here’s an example: YouTube says that small communities like 11foot8plus8, a channel about a bridge in North Carolina, is earning high engagement with 300,000 followers and 93 million channel views—despite most of the fans not living near the bridge. And? 47% of Gen Z reported belonging to a fandom that no one they knew was personally a part of.

Watcher Shuts Down Its Patreon

Watcher Entertainment, founded by (left to right) Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara, and Shane Madej, closes its Patreon / Watcher

Watcher, a digital media studio best known for its horror and mystery content, closed its Patreon on Monday as it migrated paying members over to its new subscription streaming service.

Catch up quick: Watcher received pushback in April when it announced that all videos would be shared exclusively on its streaming service moving forward. Fans criticized the price of the subscription ($5.99 a month) and the way the creators communicated the change. 

  • Watcher backtracked, deciding to upload content to its YouTube channel 30 days after the content premieres on their streaming service.

  • But Patreon members also expressed frustration that their monthly fees would not cover content uploaded to the streaming service.

How did Watcher respond? By a) offering partial refunds to annual Patreon subscribers b) grandfathering them into the Watcher TV platform and c) surveying members in May about the Patreon’s future.

59% of patrons suggested closing the current version of the Patreon community, and 53% asked to make the member-exclusive Discord a Watcher TV perk—a request the creators honored.

FYI: Watcher peaked at 7,400 paying Patreon members in May 2023, though that number had dipped to under 3,400 by June 2024, according to analytics tool Graphtreon.

Looking ahead: “We hope that we will be able to create a space just as fun-loving, weird, and wonderful as Patreon over at Watcher TV,” the cofounders of Watcher wrote in their final Patreon post.

In-House Hot Takes

Here are our creator economy hot takes halfway into the year / Illustration by Moy Zhong

Hard to believe, but we’re halfway through 2024. So what will the rest of the year hold for creators? Here are some hot takes from your Publish writers → 

Creator events will niche down. Hopping from William Osman's Open Sauce to VidCon felt like witnessing the future and past of creator conferences in the span of a week. 

As the creator economy grows and gets more diffuse, catch-all events about the YouTube meta can feel like they serve everyone and no one. I think we'll see more creator conferences niching down—think LTKCon with fashion and beauty and Open Sauce with STEM. The question is—what creators and brands will produce these highly specific events? Offbrand, looking at you. —Hannah

The Hollywood dam isn’t set to burst with creator-led projects…yet. MrBeast grabbed headlines when he announced his Amazon Prime Video game show in March, but he has yet to reveal a release date. If Beast Games is successful, it could open the door for more studios to work with creators.

At the same time, the scale at which MrBeast operates is the exception, not the rule. I think a better indication of entertainment executives’ changing attitudes toward creators could hinge on how audiences react to smaller-scale projects, such as Season 3 of Critical Role’s animated series The Legend of Vox Machina or the feature film adaptation of Wesley Wang’s nothing, except everything. —Nate

We want to know what you think. Got predictions for the next 6 months and beyond? Hit reply and tell us more—we might even feature your hot takes in an upcoming edition.

➕ Community Tab

We dropped our latest zine at VidCon (left) where creators like Jet Lag’s Sam Denby (second from right) and Adam Chase (right) grabbed their copies / Photography by Jesse Leon, Nate Graber-Lipperman

ICYMI: We released The Publish Paper: Volume 2 last week, and we want to thank you, our readers, for all of your support.

We loved seeing VidCon attendees open up our yellow Publish Press mailbox and snap photos with the zine’s cover, which was designed by our very own Moy Zhong.

For those who purchased a copy online, you can expect orders to begin shipping out next week. And if you haven’t picked one up yet, check out Volume 2 here.

🔥 Press Worthy

🎁 Share the Press

When you refer new readers to the Press, you earn merch from the Press Publish shop.

*Here’s your unique link to share: https://news.thepublishpress.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER

You currently have 0 referrals. You're only 5 away from receiving Stickers.

*Please do not use fake email addresses — they will not qualify as referrals. Thank you!