A new market for creators has emerged as a result of the convergence of storytelling, creativity and the internet. We call it the creator or influencer economy.
Even though creativity is not a new concept for Indians, it was not organized before. The influencer economy in India is growing rapidly now that everyone has a phone to create content. According to the GroupM INCA report, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% through 2025, resulting in a Rs 2200 crore industry.
Exposure to global content and easy access to devices has given Indians the opportunity to build small and medium businesses from their creativity. Tech start-ups like Exly are making this opportunity a reality. In an interview with SME Futures, Sidharth Rawat, co-founder and COO of Exly, said that this vertical has huge potential in India as the creative economy is booming right now and also helping other small businesses to grow.
How is the passion economy different from the creative economy?
Passion, influencer or creator economy, many times are used interchangeably but are a bit different from each other. The passion economy is pretty much the generation before the creative economy. As long as you share and follow your passion, maybe even profit from it, you are part of the passion economy. But as soon as you take it to a social media platform and create a work environment with the goal of monetizing your knowledge or passion, regardless of geography, you are part of the creator economy.
Previously, the focus was largely on your popularity as a creator and being influential enough to advertise and associate with brands. But with the next generation of tools and platforms, people are going beyond popularity and can monetize their passion or knowledge through the very quality of the content or information they provide. If current trends continue, the creator economy will strengthen in ways unimaginable.
But the creator economy is not new to India. What changed?
Absolutely, this is nothing new. India’s creative landscape has always been rich. And the digital creator economy was already on the uptrend, however, the onset of the pandemic added more fuel to it. Thus, many professionals and knowledge creators have emerged who want to start or grow their business online.
They realized the importance of being online and creating their own brand. It increases their reach by removing geographic boundaries, provides higher ROI by reducing infrastructure constraints and cost arbitrage, and helps them connect directly with their audience.
With the democratization of content creation and the availability of commercial scaling software/platforms, more and more people are striving to make their passion their profession.
What do you think of how India is capitalizing on the opportunities created by social media platforms?
With ever cheaper data plans and ever more accessible internet, India has done well to stay on the right track when it comes to digital growth.
With over 180 million Instagram users and over 450 million YouTube users, India has the largest user base of these platforms. Smartphones are the main screen in most homes in India today. This also makes it the main source of news and entertainment.
This exposure to global content helps create aspirations. Social media has become the platform for showcasing talent, learning, motivating, networking and even doing business. This era of e-commerce has given rise to the creator economy in India which has been boosted by social media and short media platforms.
Moreover, India has produced some of the biggest influencers and creators who attract an international audience. The creator economy in India has even spawned a new generation of D2C (Direct to Consumers) influencers, who have established themselves as Influencers on social media and subsequently launched brands and labels. Influencer creators like Bhuvan Bam, Prajakta Koli, Madhura Bachal, Sejal Kumar and Sahil Khan are just a few of many names benefiting from the global demand for quality content and influencer campaigns.
I think these are exciting times for India and for the world. With the power of editing in almost everyone’s hands, the world is their oyster.
So what does Exly do for creators?
Exly is an all-in-one scaling platform designed for creators and knowledge professionals (coaches, consultants, artists, instructors, etc.) to launch, manage and grow their online business.
It provides an optimized business-in-a-box solution to capture, convert and manage leads professionally. With us, creators can start selling, marketing, and managing their courses, consultations, workshops, recorded content, and merchandise. Using the platform, you can create beautiful pages with easy scheduling, automated communication, payments, and analytics. With its comprehensive growth marketing suite, it also helps creators generate leads and increase conversions.
Since our inception in December 2020, over the past 14 months we’ve grown ~36X with creators and knowledge professionals earning over two million dollars ($2 million) using the platform, growing ~20X in some case.
Could you tell us more about the types of creative businesses that are emerging? What new industries are growing among content creators?
Technology has taken a giant step forward during the pandemic and this has opened up new perspectives and opportunities for the creative sector.
India’s entrepreneurial nature and business acumen have come through and inspired many talented people to take charge of their lives and start their own businesses. The various creative businesses that have emerged during the pandemic are in the areas of mental wellness, personality development, arts and crafts, music/performance, tarot, and astrology.
The creator economy involves knowledge professionals, bloggers, influencers, videographers, and anyone who wants to monetize their social media fanbases. People have become much more aware and aware of health and wellness and training and retraining these days. Therefore, in my opinion, Health & Fitness, Fashion & Lifestyle, Entertainment, NFTs, and Professional Coaching are the sectors that are growing very fast among content creators.
How India’s Hinterlands and Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities Contribute to the Creative Economy. Where does your traction come from?
The era of digitalization that has been propelled by the pandemic has opened up a plethora of opportunities for one and all. With a phone in each hand and better internet infrastructure, content creation has become ubiquitous. Also, with regional languages now getting the desired starring, English is no longer an obstacle.
It would be fair to say that there is no demarcation as to where contributors to the creator economy are based. Our traction comes from all over the country.
There are very impactful influencers making their mark in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. There is more acceptance today and regardless of language or cultural differences, social media creators and influencers emerge everywhere.
To name a few, Sarkar from Tripura who is a fashion influencer caught the eye of Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla. Jhilam Gupta from Bengal is also a well-known digital creator. Then there is Kangna Talukdar who is a gaming influencer from Guwahati. These content creators reflect the growing creator economy in India.
People in India and around the world have realized that they are all publishers, they can all create content and everyone has their own audience.
So it’s fair to say that the creative economy helps small businesses grow.
Of course, the creator economy helps support small businesses. It always has been, but it’s much more organized now.
The creator economy has been driven by two major revolutions. First came the traditional social media platforms – Instagram, YouTube, Twitter – which made it easy for creators to reach wider audiences and market their products, but they weren’t suited for monetization and marketing. creating sustainable livelihoods.
Then came the business platforms that can help these creators monetize their knowledge through subscriptions and through offers such as recorded courses, courses, workshops, etc.
It has helped even small businesses streamline their operations by focusing on creating value rather than non-essential tasks. The pandemic has seen many people jump on the creator bandwagon and start from scratch. And many have even succeeded on their own. Home cooks, DIYers, interior designers, art teachers, dance and music teachers are just a few verticals that have really shined in this field.
Ultimately, what are your plans for Exly and what is the roadmap?
100 million people have become creators and knowledge workers in the last decade, due to the proliferation of mobile phones and social media. With the right platform and the right services, these creators will become businesses in the next 3-5 years.
Exly will build and own the right infrastructure to make this change. We plan to increase to 15-20 times our current level, over the next year. Focusing primarily on helping these creators effectively manage and sustainably grow their businesses to realize their full potential.