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Mar 2024

Content creation vs production: collaboration or competition?

In the constantly evolving realm of visual media, the distinction between content creation and traditional production has become increasingly blurred.

As individuals and small teams harness the power of digital platforms to create and distribute content, a question emerges: Are traditional production houses and online creators competing against each other, or can they actually work together to push the industry forward?

Traditional film and video production houses have long been the backbone of the entertainment industry, producing high-quality content for various mediums. Traditionally, video production has followed a structured format, with clear roles such as producer, director, and camera operator etc. It's a collaborative effort aimed at delivering polished, professional content. On the other hand, content creation offers a more do-it-yourself vibe, where individuals act as one-person bands, filming themselves and relying on digital platforms for distribution and monetisation. It's often characterised by its grassroots nature, with individuals or small teams producing content on their own or with whatever resources they have at hand.

One big advantage of content creation is accessibility. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram provide accessible routes for anyone with a creative itch to share their work with a potentially huge audience. The rise of the creator economy has changed the game when it comes to the way content is conceived, produced, and consumed. Creators leverage digital platforms to directly connect with their audience, bypassing traditional gatekeepers like publishers and advertisers. The creator economy, valued at £250 billion in 2023 and projected to nearly double by 2027, also empowers diverse voices and narratives that might not find representation in mainstream media.

With over 300 million creators globally, this setup has reshaped consumer behaviour and brand engagement. Influencers have major sway - studies say that 53% of 18–29-year-olds have bought something after seeing an influencer's recommendations on YouTube. People trust influencers more than traditional ads because they seem more genuine. This is corroborated by a study that called influencer marketing a new form of word-of-mouth advertising, which is, as a 2019 report suggests, the most credible form of advertising. Dr Crystal Abidin, an academic from Curtin University who specialises in internet cultures, said that “being ordinary people, we tend to trust the word of influencers so much more […] we believe they speak from the grassroots as opposed to a paid celebrity.”

One of the key strengths of content creators lies in their ability to deliver authentic, relatable content. Unlike traditional productions, which often entail scripted narratives and polished aesthetics, content creators thrive on the raw, unfiltered appeal of their work. This authenticity resonates with audiences, particularly in an era where transparency is so highly valued. Moreover, content creators possess the agility to pivot in real-time, capitalising on trending topics and viral moments.

However, there are challenges associated with content creation as well. With low barriers to entry, the quality of content can vary widely, making it challenging for audiences to discern between amateur and professional work. Plus, the sheer volume of content created daily can lead to oversaturation, making it difficult for individual creators to stand out.

Now, more influencers are facing backlash from their disingenuous advertising and there’s growing scepticism towards sponsored content. Influencer burnout, along with the potential for controversy pose significant risks for brands and creators alike. It’s important to understand that content creators are not a standalone solution and should be viewed as part of a wider brand and communications strategy.

Traditional production companies are also facing pressure and for them it’s key to adapt to the evolving landscape. While they offer expertise in storytelling, production quality, and strategic planning, they must also embrace the versatility and innovation seen in content creators to remain competitive in an era dominated by online personalities. With access to state-of-the-art equipment, talented crew members, and established networks, production companies can tackle large-scale projects effectively. Plus, they adhere to industry standards and practices, providing a level of consistency and reliability for clients and audiences.

Disadvantages of studio-based content include higher cost and limited reach compared to content creator-based content. So perhaps, content creation is pushing traditional production companies to be more versatile in their offering.

Ultimately, the contrast between content creation and traditional production is giving way to a more collaborative approach. Brands recognise the value of integrating both approaches as part of a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy. In the end, it's all about teamwork. Traditional production brings storytelling skills and polish, while creators offer realness and quick moves.

The relationship between content creators and traditional production companies is not necessarily adversarial but rather complementary. At Chrome, our unique business model allows us to service our clients at both ends of the spectrum, from high-end ‘hero’ commercial work to everyday social ‘hygiene’ content and everything in between. So for us, it’s an important balance.

While content creators may shake things up by offering alternative voices and distribution methods, production companies continue to play a vital role in delivering high-quality, top-notch content to the world.

So, in short, the media landscape is evolving rapidly - thanks to the rise of the creator economy. Content creation and traditional production aren't rivals—they're allies. By working together, we can take the way we service our clients to new heights.

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