Netflix exec's private jet fly-bys, Creatorville's Predictions for 2023 live call, Alex Morris reveals all, and: Will a K-pop gig start a VR revolution?...News from Creatorville

Will K-pop acts become the breakthrough pioneers of VR content?

News from SXSW, where it has been announced that K-pop girl group aespa are to debut their first-ever Virtual Reality concert at Austin's legendary conference this year.

I remember striking deals for 360 video content at SXSW many years ago. But despite its technical potential to be a game-changer, VR has struggled to become a mainstream way to enjoy music events - or to consume any video entertainment on a regular.

According to the billing:

Aespa is having their first concert at “Kwangya”, an unruled and infinite place. Users are invited to “Kwangya” by being virtually flown into the “Flat” where "aespa" and "ae-aespa" can “Synk”

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this announcement.

However - when I dug into aespa and the work they have been doing in the visual content realm I was blown away.

They have developed digital alter ego characters; virtual avatars called "aes" that live in a parallel universe, which enables the band to tell both virtual and real-life stories, blended in an incredible way... watch this:

The first of two remarkable films

Classy real-life action sequences blend with top-drawer 3D manga animation, glued together by a proper storyline. It makes for a rich, exciting, watch.

So it's not hard to imagine aespa putting on an incredible concert in VR.

With the huge reach and audience influence of K-pop culture around the world, the clever organising concept of aes, combined with brilliant execution - this might be the breakthrough content that helps young people dive into VR-first entertainment.

And for a Korean group, it's interesting that the key comments on these amazing videos are all in English.

It's the first entertainment content that looks and feels like it BELONGS in immersive as its natural environment, rather than video.

And it reminds me of The Beatles turning their music into a whole universe of concepts and characters with movies like The Yellow Submarine.

With Apple reportedly already in production of a second, cheaper version of their upcoming VR Headset, breakthrough immersive content that seems as natural a fit as aespa's could be a whole new universe of opportunity.

Jet-set Exec leads Netflix's big bets

Netflix had a tough year in 2022.

So it was great to dig into a long read in the New Yorker - sent to me by the brilliant Exec Producer of THE BIG SWING Fred Casella -  all about Bela Bajaria, Netflix's global head of television.  

It seems that Netflix's international growth is a priority, and therefore Bajaria spends much of her time travelling to their many international offices.

And journalist Rachel Syme - who wrote the piece - was invited onto a Netflix private jet to accompany Ms Bajaria on a trip to their Madrid HQ.

According to Syme, the on-board wine list didn't have any Sauvignon Blanc, so Bajaria had to settle for a dry Chardonnay, remarking as she did:

“If you write this part, you have to say that I drank the Sauvignon Blanc, because it cannot be my reputation that I drank Chardonnay.”

The Chardonnay was apparently offered as a substitute by a flight attendant wearing a black beret.

And in a news story from the BBC this week, it seems Netflix is advertising for more private jet flight attendants.  How much could one expect to earn for looking after Bajaria and her Netflix colleagues in the air? According to the job advert, up to $385,000 per year.

We all know that the tech world likes to pay its people well. But $385,000 for a role that pays around a quarter of that salary on average?

If I were a Netflix shareholder I'd want to know just how much money the team are spending on things like private jets.

And whether or not funding execs to fly private should be the priority for a business which layed off around 4% of its employees last year? Especially when the stock is still more than 50% down on its high of October 2021...

This morning we hear that Netflix's brilliant founder and CEO Reed Hastings has decided it is time to step down from running the company and move upstairs to become Chairman.

Maybe this signals Netflix to move from a growth mindset - full of disruption and adventure -  to a mature business approach - looking for sustainable profitability?

Pamela Anderson does her own kiss-and-tell in a new documentary

Pamela Andreson has been the subject of so many other people's work over the last few decades.

And now she has decided to tell her own story instead.

So who did Pamela turn to when she wanted someone to bring this seminal project to fruition?

Well, we were lucky enough to feature top documentary producer Jessica Hargrave on THE BIG SWING PODCAST earlier this series:

And it was Jess who was trusted to produce this compelling documentary that launches on January 31st. Congratulations, Jess!

Turmoil in social media

As I wrote some time ago, we are already at the beginning of the end of social media's business dominance.

And I found this new article from The Generalist incredibly insightful about the industry's current inbox of challenges.

It is full of clever analyses of why we are where we are.

And it begs the question - how did we let this all happen?

So if you're focussed on the future of social media, give it a read.

My predictions for 2023 - join me for a live Creatorville community group call on January 31st at 17:00

Earlier this week I posted my five predictions in content for 2023 on my LinkedIn:

And I'm looking forward to discussing these predictions - and hearing predictions from our amazing community on our first group Zoom call of 2023.

I will be joined by some special guests to hear about what they think will change in the content universe.

🚀 So if you want to get up to speed on how your fellow Creators are feeling about the year to come, SIGN UP HERE for free 🚀

What's the hardest story tell? Your own... 🥹

All round content legend Alex Moris joins me on this week's episode of  THE BIG SWING PODCAST which drops tomorrow evening at 7 pm.

Alex was most recently Director of LadBible's original content division LadStudios.

But luckily for me, before that, Alex was my business partner as Chief Creative Officer at Barcroft Studios.

And we recently put the band back together for a special edition of the podcast to quiz each other on our very own Biggest Swings whilst we built and sold Barcroft Studios.

Here's a sneak peek, just for Creatorville subscribers:

If you'd like to hear the inside story on the biggest decisions we made over the 17 years we ran the company, please subscribe to THE BIG SWING PODCAST on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Spotify...

Have a great week people!

Sam Barcroft

Sam Barcroft

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