New content is not the only answer for creators
Photo: Oladimeji Ajegbile
As platforms become inundated with new content, competition for attention is constantly intensifying. Many creators must keep working harder (streaming more) to maintain their current metrics. The requirement to constantly output a stream of high-quality content can limit their ability to reach new audiences and maintain engagement with existing viewers. However, in today's digital age, it is easier than ever to distribute and monetise content, even that which is several months or even years old. Back catalogues have always been a valuable resource for creators, offering a wealth of material that can be re-released, re-packaged, or re-imagined to engage fans and generate revenue from older content. By making their back catalogue available through multiple channels, creators can maximise their revenue potential and reach a wider audience.
The merging of live and pre-recorded formats is already present in some instances, such as Twitch's reruns feature and PewDiePie’s infinity stream on Twitch. Interestingly, this format has been used relatively frequently during subathon events by the likes of Kai Cenat and Ludwig to keep audiences engaged whilst they are asleep. However, few have recognised the value of the live back-catalogue broadcasts as a standalone output in addition to their core content.
The YouTube channel Lo-fi Girl is an example of taking advantage of this opportunity, providing a constant stream of relaxing lo-fi music and animation. The channel sources its content from independent artists and record labels that specialise in lo-fi hip hop and related genres. Although the initial gathering of content can be challenging, once the music catalogue is created, it can be modified and developed into the loop that is broadcast in a shuffled cycle. The channel generates revenue through advertising, donations and tips, and merchandise, unlike independent tracks or content in isolation.
Live back catalogues can be a useful tool for re-engaging established fans who are eager for new content but may also be willing to revisit older content if presented in a new and exciting way. They offer fans a digital communal viewing experience that does not exist for the same content in its traditional format – as part of a showcase of videos on a creators channel. Additionally, introducing newer fans to earlier successful work can increase their bond with a creator.
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While there are potential challenges associated with this hybrid format, such as the relevance of older content to contemporary audiences and the caveat that some fans will resist revisiting older content entirely, the potential benefits of back catalogues are clear. By engaging established fans, reaching new audiences, generating revenue from older content, and drawing on their own creative legacy, creators can unlock new opportunities and build on their past successes. Merging the live and back catalogue formats may prove to be an unmatched format for creators, with the addition of donations, live spending incentives, and more associated with live content. This allows creators to generate a steady stream of revenue from older content, similar to traditional scheduled TV.
In an increasingly stimulating digital world, many will return to the content and creators that are familiar, and if creators can recognise the value in their older content and not just the current trend or craze, they will reap the rewards.