How Tech Is Building the Next Generation of Content Creators (Video)

Hollywood is looking to Twitch, YouTube and TikTok for its future stars

Audio and video platforms have significantly changed the entertainment industry, and the tech behind them is shaping the way content creators and influencers make their business.

Now content creators and influencers are emerging as the next wave of celebrities, and as Ross Gerber, president and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki pointed out in TheGrill’s “Media Disrupted: How Tech is Driving New Platforms & Services” panel, Hollywood is looking to social media to find talent that have a big following. Traditionally, the industry would make the stars and build them up — now it’s the reverse with many influencers making themselves famous and then the industry starts courting them.

“It’s a lot easier to market a movie when somebody’s got 10 million followers on YouTube and Twitter, than it is when you’ve got this great actor with nobody following,” Gerber said.

At Audible, Rachel Ghiazza, head of US content, they aim to discover their next talent through leveraging YouTube and social media channels. “That’s where you can start to say who has the relevant stories today, and who are the next generation that are at a place where they need a bigger place to go and do their messaging or reach a new audience,” she said.

Audible is the audio book and podcasting service owned by Amazon. It includes more than 200,000 audio programs from across news publishers, entertainment and businesses.

“The future of entertainment is born from the internet now,” said Kai Henry, chief strategy officer of esports company FaZe Clan. “Traditionally an actor or actress or radio host, they come up in a different way. A lot of the talent have their audience built in.”

For an esports business, FaZe Clan is able to diversify its model in several ways through its sponsorships, content and streaming channels. Henry believes many of the traditional media companies do not have an insider view on what’s happening with the next generation of talent and content side of the businesses. “A lot of these companies are making business decisions without that lens,” Henry said.

There is also a huge distribution opportunity in new forms of media compared to traditional entertainment. When it comes to reaching global audiences, the potential of tech and social media channels is immense, said Anne Kennedy McGuire, partner at Loeb & Loeb, a firm that represents creators. McGuire said many mergers and acquisitions have shaped the tech and media landscape, as many creators or influencers are becoming their own brands. At the same time, younger users and viewers are turning away from traditional outlets such as CNN or NBC News and tuning in to social channels and brand influencers.

“They have to adapt or die,” McGuire said. “They are trying to adapt, but it’s going to be a slow process like moving the Titanic around. It’s going to be hard and interesting to see who is able to embrace it more quickly and who struggles more with it. … Discovery and HBO is trying to do that by acquiring all of these to build this up to a mega player that can adapt.”

The way that people are using these platforms and consuming media is also changing — podcasts are a good example of new entertainment forms that are emerging, Ghiazza said. Spoken word and radio, for example, are all “net new” and people are engaging with these audio products in an entirely different way. There are a lot of people discovering audio and creators leaning in to the content creation, but there’s still a lot of debate over what constitutes premium content and the best distribution model.

“People like all kinds of stuff,” Ghiazza said. “That’s the complexity we will face as we continue to merge the worlds.”

Watch the full conversation here.

For over a decade, TheWrap’s Grill event series has led the conversation on the convergence between entertainment, media and technology, bringing together newsmakers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing content in the digital age. Tailored to C-Suite and high-level attendees, TheGrill presented by WrapPRO, delivers a unique series of curated discussions, industry panels and virtual networking activations that explore the ever-changing media landscape. View the full panel and all Grill content here