Five things to get excited about in 2023 🤩

Well, 2022 was a tough year for media and technology.  After many years of prosperous growth, things became much more difficult for many companies in the second half.

And it doesn't look like to overall economic picture is set to bounce back in 2023.

But, as an entrepreneur, it's important to focus on the opportunities as well as accept the challenges.

And here are five things I am excited about that are happening this year:

1. YouTube will turn on monetisation for YouTube Shorts creators from February 1st

YouTube's decision to share ad revenue with producers literally created the creator economy.

The OG video platform has been paying out billions each year to creators, splitting the income generated from selling adverts against videos with the people who uploaded them, via their YouTube Partner program.

But YouTube is now locked in a battle with TikTok for young viewers.  And they have leant heavily into promoting YouTube Shorts.

This has meant creators can once again get a lot of views if they upload appropriate Shorts to YouTube.

But these shorter, upright videos haven't fallen inside the partner program yet - so producers haven't been benefitting financially.

Now, revenue sharing on YouTube Shorts will begin in February.

Partners who have seen their video advertising revenues drop significantly over the last year are hopeful that this move will create significant new income.

Monetising short-form videos with advertising hasn't worked out for creators on other platforms in the past, so we will have to wait and see.

But it's great that YouTube is doing the right thing by creators. And it means other platforms will really need to think about following suit.

If short-form monetises well across MULTIPLE platforms, it could end up being a significant boost to video producers.

So, fingers crossed that we see creators rewarded for producing high-performing short-form on a revenue share basis across TikTok, Reels, Spotlight, Twitter and the like this year.

2. GPT-4 is due to be released

Most people had never seen anything made by AI until 2022.

But the emergence of image generation apps like MidJourney, Jasper and the like during the last year meant that the creative community suddenly realised machines would one day be able to do their jobs.

And when ChatGPT was launched by OpenAI, I definitely felt a shift in the force.  All of a sudden there was a tool that could literally write scripts for plays, put together fake news stories at the drop of a hat, and even write my LinkedIn posts for me.

Whilst this monumental creative evolution made many people apprehensive about their career trajectories, it also presented itself as an opportunity.

And the launch of DALL·E last year was similarly momentous for artificial image generation. DALL·E 2 seems a big step up in quality, too.

I'm already aware of TV commissioners using text-prompted AI to help inspire set design. And Exec producers using AI to help design poster imagery for their Netflix original series.

And I've already used AI imagery to illustrate my presentations and keynotes.

I expect the long-awaited launch of GPT-4 - the successor to ChatGPT - to be seismic this year.

If creative entrepreneurs view AI as super-efficient equipment - like farmers viewed mechanical tractors after the Second World War - they will surely prosper.

Who wants to plough fields with tired horses, when you can buzz along in a quarter of the time in air-conditioned luxury?

There aren't many arable farmers working with horses anymore...

3. TikTok goes supersonic

As somebody who built a successful business during rapid growth phases of YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat, there is a simple rule to scaling on social media:

Concentrate your resources on platforms that are growing rapidly.

And TikTok is seeing amazing growth right now.

The other socials are all still growing but at far smaller magnitudes.  They are bursting at the seams with a relentless stream of content from established super creators. They are losing momentum with advertisers. And mostly they are pivoting to try and compete against TikTok with similar short-form products.

I expect TikTok to continue its rapid growth in 2023, and we will see the entertainment and political superstars of the future emerge from its feed over the next year or two.

It will become absolutely dominant this year.

I recently heard about a major brand that sent an entire video crew overseas - just to ensure the TikTok video from their event was top class.  It wasn't the TV episode they cared most about. To reach their young audiences, the TikTok video was THE most important element of their activation.

And a recent survey tells us that young people are so tuned into the platform that they even turn to TikTok for medical advice.

Brands that want to be seen as cool with young people will prioritise spending on TikTok content and advertising this year.

So if you want to expand your social following, TikTok is where to invest this year.

4. Pinterest is now commissioning original video

I have to admit I was surprised to hear Ash Greenwood from Pinterest reveal that they were moving into commissioning original videos at the Tellycast Digital Content Forum.

As one of the original Web 2.0 platforms, Pinterest is powered by the content generated and shared by its users.

Its superpower has been facilitating others to publish content, NOT making its own.

But if you're expecting to see multiple huge TV-style shows landing on the platform, don't hold your breath.

It turns out Pinterest is looking for one-minute episodes.

So it's unlikely that producers will be pivoting hard into this as a major new revenue opportunity.

But it does remind me that more brands are buying in video expertise than ever.  From universities to drinks makers, government departments to sports clubs - making videos for others has never been busier. And this trajectory is unlikely to flatten any time soon.

5. Netflix will spend $17 billion on content this year

According to its CFO, the world's largest video subscription company is holding firm on its content spending this year, despite record drops in its share price in 2022.

This is great news for TV producers - and viewers.

Most people don't realise what a godsend Netflix has been for producers.

The TV industry was in great danger of collapsing a few years ago, with viewers leaving broadcast and cable in their droves.

And Netflix was the one platform that got stuck into buying lots of big new shows from producers.

Their relentless content spend has saved many a job in the creative industries over recent years.

And it has forced competitors to spend big to try and keep up too.

But with the cost of debt rising considerably, holding firm on their content spend is a bold move from Netflix's leadership team.

So we should be grateful for all those greenlights and fingers crossed that the viewers - and new advertisers - reward Netflix with loyalty and consumption to keep this content investment viable.

So, here's to staying positive!

Looking back on this, 2023 might actually be quite good then?

Well, in every challenge there is always an opportunity.

And for content entrepreneurs, there are always remarkable stories to tell that people are desperate to consume.

So let's find the sunshine through the clouds and keep on keeping on!

This year, I'll be helping a number of companies develop their strategy and innovation. If this is something you'd like to discuss, please get in touch!

Happy New Year!

Sam Barcroft

Sam Barcroft

Creative entrepreneur and strategist with over 30 years experience of building media businesses