Built for user engagement and monetisation via advertisements, social media platforms prioritise follower acquisition and content distribution. However, monetisation for creators remains an afterthought. Manish Maheshwari is trying to change this status quo as President Corporate Level at Jetsynthesys
New-age digital entertainment and technology company JetSynthesys recently acquired a majority stake in Fanory and onboarded Manish Maheshwari, former head of Twitter India and Fanory's co-founder, as president at the corporate level. Maheshwari co-founded the entity with two former colleagues in early 2022 to enable creators to monetise their craft through their community of fans, thereby turning them into micro-entrepreneurs.
The platform connects creators with their fans through a personalised app, similar to how Shopify helps small offline businesses set up customised digital stores in the e-commerce space. Now that Maheshwari will focus on Fanory's global expansion in the digital entertainment space, he tells Outlook Business how the platform will help creators upsell their premium experiences through a frictionless, coin-based payment mechanism. Edited excerpts:
How big is India's creator economy market and how much is it predicted to reach by 2024?
The size of the global creator economy is over $100 billion. In India alone, there are over 80 million creators and knowledge professionals, which is growing with the recent layoffs and increased gig workers.
As per the Influencer Marketing Report 2022, the Indian influencer marketing industry's value is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent over the next five years to reach Rs 2,200 crore by 2025 from Rs 900 crore in 2021. The evidence of it being on the path of relentless growth can also be seen in the findings of the Redseer report, which states that India's creator community is expected to reach 580 million by 2025.
Two-thirds of India's digitally active population follows an influencer online. This shows how strong content creation can be as a profession and create an impression on people's minds. This relationship between an influencer and their followers is largely rooted in trust and constant communication. Fanory, as a platform, aims to strengthen that trust.
What is the potential to generate revenue and expand the creator economy further?
The creator economy has been making the right buzz in today's tech-savvy world. Today, successful creators don't just create content; they inspire communities. They curate content that brings people together through shared interests, hobbies and identities and build communities.
These communities become extremely important for brands as they become their target audiences. Hence, the creator economy has become one of the most prominent parts of the country's overall economy. Exploring avenues for creating content with creators will only become more prevalent as social media platforms, consumer expectations and marketer strategies mature and grow.
What are some challenges faced by the creator community?
The creator community also faces its set of challenges. One of the most prominent challenges is the right way of monetising the content they create. Notably, less than 0.2 per cent of current creators can monetise their services properly to earn a predictable livelihood.
Social media platforms are built for user engagement and monetised via advertisements. Therefore, they prioritise follower acquisition and content distribution. Monetisation for creators is an afterthought. Only established celebrities can make money on their terms, primarily via brand deals. For the rest, it is just hard work of creation without a commensurate income even to afford a decent life in any metro city.
Lack of monetisation often leads to them quitting this profession or struggling to survive. Hence, it becomes crucial for content creators to find ways and solutions to rightfully monetise their work and progress. Another challenge is consistently staying connected and in touch with their super fans and community of fans.
How does Fanory address these challenges of individual creators and start-up companies by offering them monetising opportunities like sponsorship and advertising?
Fanory enables creators to monetise their craft on their terms through their community of fans, thereby turning them into micro-entrepreneurs. The platform connects creators with their superfans through a personalised app, a model similar to how Shopify helps small offline businesses set up personalised digital stores in the e-commerce space.
How will JetSynthesys' acquisition of a majority stake help Fanory?
Now Fanory will work closely with JetSynthesys' digital entertainment pillar and assist creators in locating their superfans, i.e., those who are both ready and willing to pay for exclusive opportunities to interact with their favorite artists. It will then enable creators to upsell premium experiences on a personalised app through a frictionless, coin-based payment mechanism.
Various social media platforms operate differently. So how is Fanory developing mechanisms that engage creators and offer them a springboard for driving greater fan engagement and increasing earnings in the form of revenue share?
Fanory helps creators build a mechanism to engage with their audiences, monetise their content and develop and increase a loyal fanbase. Fanory offers two products, Fanobyte and Superstar Club. Fanobyte helps audiences explore a list of creators here to accept their personal video requests and have fun conversations with them. The Superstar Club is a dedicated platform for Star creators to connect with their premium fans via an exclusive portal and app.
While marketers are increasingly engaging in the creator space, given that consumers trust influencers and creators, the latter now have to adhere to stricter regulations. Does this limit the opportunities for creators and brands, by extension?
The move to have strict regulations is to prevent false advertising and misleading promotions. This does not restrict a good creator from creating good content. A platform like Fanory motivates creators to monetise secure and authentic content that inspires communities.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and recessionary trends impacted the creator economy, impacting the ad-supported revenue models in a largely unpredictable business climate?
Fanory enables creators to build a direct monetisation channel with their superfans which is over and above what they earn indirectly through advertisements from brands. It, therefore, complements and diversifies their income. It also provides them a cushion against recession and an unpredictable business climate. Fans are loyal to the creators they follow. What they are willing to spend is less likely to be impacted by any macro trend and business climate.
How many creators are currently part of Fanory's network?
We have the monetisation platform ready, which has been tested with several leading creators. Many of them have already started monetising their fans through us. With this new relationship with JetSynthesys, we will onboard their creators to Fanory and also leverage their ecosystem relationships to grow aggressively globally.