Over the years, the Shutterstocks and Gettys of the world have fine-tuned the art of running the creative ecosystem, which largely revolves around managing huge production budgets, complex pricing agreements, and working with legal teams to decode licensing laws that can change drastically from project to project.
Previously, deals for creatives were lengthy, drawn out, and expensive. This is what those production leaders are accustomed to, and this is what they're good at.
Recently, however, the media industry has undergone a massive resurgence, and a new class of content creators has risen.
Trends driving the evolution of digital creatives
There are three trends at the intersection of this sort of "big bang" moment for digital content creation.
The first, like advancements in most industries, can be attributed to technology. Because of the smartphone, in 2019 anyone can create visual content. Affordable, high-quality camera phones and simple editing tools are far more accessible, and there is now a plethora of inexpensive programs and classes that emerging artists can take to develop their craft, or learn a new skill set.
The second is a result of editing tools that have transitioned to the SaaS model. Previously in this environment, you had to shell out thousands of dollars for a box of creative software like Adobe. Today, creatives have options, with some editing tools costing as little as $20 a month that deliver the same production quality.
The third and final is greater access to knowledge. Today, creatives can teach themselves how to create a logo reveal, bumper or a tilt-shift effect to amp up their production value, in only an hour.
How the profile of digital content creators is transforming
The creative economy is now run overwhelmingly by individuals - ranging from freelancers, to SMBs, to digital marketers who work on small, niche teams at large corporations. Heck, even my Golden Retriever puppy is on the creator bandwagon these days.
In this new ecosystem, creatives no longer need to undergo long, grueling approval processes to see a project come to fruition, get their work in front of the right audience, and often most importantly, receive a paycheck.
Subscription stock media company, Storyblocks, refers to this new type of content creator as "the mass creative class," and has reason to believe that they already outnumber traditional production buyers and the big players should be paying more attention to them.
"Storyblocks has long accepted that this new class of content creators is taking the reins of the media landscape. We are constantly adjusting our services to better fit how they work," CEO TJ Leonard. "If the big production giants want to keep up, they need to start paying attention to how this new creative class works and operates," he added.
Why the mass creative class works differently
The differences attributed to the new creative class reach far beyond what you would expect, such as the fact that they don't need to consult with a team of lawyers for projects and they create content for untraditional mediums, such as blogs.
For example, the content the mass creative class opts for is much different. According to Storyblocks' 2019 Trends Guide, creatives are overwhelmingly focused on authentic shots of cities, landscapes, and cinematic.
This new class of creatives also seeks out a larger variety of content than creatives in the past ever have.
In order for the big production giants, such as the Shutterstocks and Gettys of the ecosystem, to get ahead, they need to educate themselves on these key differences and adjust their products and services in order to keep up with the increasing demand of creators.