By Mitchel Russo
The amount of time we spend in front of our phones is growing, indeed that growth has skyrocketed during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and with it has come a flood of content creation.
Content creation, in the visual sense, used to mean TV shows and movies that we digested via a TV or cinema screen, but now content is everywhere, and the bulk of it isn't made by professional filmmakers, but by amateurs. It's made by us.
The kings of content creation at present are TikTok and YouTube, two behemoths who host, process, and offer millions upon millions of hours of content for our amusement and entertainment.
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TikTok is really surging these days, despite the efforts of a certain soon-to-be ex-president (who has made it his ambition to curb the platform in the US), and the continued success of the Chinese owned video-sharing social networking service is quite something to behold.
It's particularly popular with the youth market, a market that has left the likes of Facebook and Twitter in large numbers, and the continually vivacious appetite of its users to watch and make content is unprecedented.
You can barely walk down a stretch of pavement without watching an individual, or group, filming themselves performing the latest dance craze, which they then expertly look to overlay with royalty-free music in order to produce an end product and share it with the world.
Content creation and content creators are increasing. Pinterest
Indeed the amount of content consumed by the younger demographic is scaling up but a great deal of that increase comes from the aforementioned platforms, and not so much from the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
The democratization of content creation has meant that the platforms that offer content are growing month on month, new streaming services emerge continually, and a young audience will not sit in one place for too long, but the push to digest 'amateur' content creation has an additional benefit for the likes of TikTok and YouTube.
It's very much a representation of the edict, 'give the people what they want,' where users now don't have to settle for content products that are offered to them, they can just go out into the world and make their own.
The very fact that the content being created is being shared so widely, and so organically, means that budding content creators feel that they too can get their products out into the wider world. It's potentially a never-ending loop that these platforms will ride on to secure mind-bogglingly large levels of revenue.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: ओटीटी पर डॉक्यूमेंट्री-ड्रामा को मिल रहा अच्छा रिस्पांस
Taking TikTok specifically as an example of the upward trend, the service is available in 150 countries and has over 1 billion users, the app itself has been downloaded over 2 billion times worldwide, and markets in India and China are growing at an astonishing pace.
Users spend on average 52 minutes per day on the app, indeed a user opens the app eight times a day, and perhaps the most telling statistic is the fact that 83% of users have posted a video themselves.
On the subject of revenue, TikTok is estimated to bring in upwards of $500 million in the US alone, and the platform is looking to strengthen its stranglehold on the market by paying key influencers to join the app. So you can expect their dominance to continue long into the future.
So far, efforts by the likes of Facebook to rival TikTok have failed to bear fruit, their version "Lasso" didn't come close to making a dent in the market and duly closed in July.
Given that the platform allows users to broadcast their efforts to a huge audience and the hope of going viral continues to entice users, it's a fair bet that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict our daily lives, users will look to entertain themselves, and others, as much as ever.
In many ways, the act of content creation, on an amateur scale at least, is a release from the everyday travails. It's a chance for users to express themselves in an easy and engaging manner and a form of entertainment that provides a break from the uncertainty and concern caused by the coronavirus.