Updated: August 20, 2020 11:10:45 am
With over a dozen new short video platforms vying for user attention as well as the time of creators who will ensure engagement on these apps, Firework, one of the older players in the segment, has come up with an innovation that will reward talent and not just a follower base. The Open Story Page concept being launched by the Silicon Valley company, once in the radar of Google for an acquisition, could potentially change the narrative on social media platforms and even throw a spanner in the works of influencers who command a premium for their, often inflated, user bases.
Sunil Nair, CEO of Firework India, explained that with the Open Story Page, creators will no longer have to worry about creating a follower base and will be able to monetise even without any substantial number of fans. “The currency for influencers or content creators now is the number of followers they have. In the case of Firework, this follower base need not be there. A creator can create content and if it meets the guidelines that are already in place can reach the entire network within minutes,” Nair told indianexpress.com. He said the creators can start getting residual income because of the “stream share” aspect of Firework which makes the content visible across the large network the platform has globally.
Interestingly, the Open Story Page, since it uses the open web, will also negate the need for an app to access and consume this content, thus giving it a wider reach than app-based platforms. “It will truly be a game changer in the business and will re-define the ecosystem and relationships within,” Nair said, suggesting that this was just the start and more innovations were being worked on.
With the Open Story Page creators, publishers and brands can have their own dedicated pages and start monetising immediately via views across the network and advertising on these pages. Also, creators get the liberty to “independently build branded content without any involvement from Firework”.
Russell Schneider, Firework’s president of creator development and strategic partnerships, underlined the clear drift away from advertisements to the influencer marketing model. For Schneider, who was one of the top names at social media platform 9GAG, the learnings have been clear over the past few years: “By creating authenticity within the content and working directly with the influencers, working with them to do what they do best and putting it into context helps drive better conversions.”
He thinks there are a lot of ways to monetise a creator on social media platforms, but most brands have been doing it wrong so far. Schneider’s Golden Rule is that you don’t need distribution for your content, if you are creating good content. “It does not need a home, people are going to find it and people are going to consume it,” he said, highlighting the importance of giving the freedom to creators who know their audience better than the brands.
“If they have raw talent and are relatively undiscovered in the creator and influencer marketing space, we are looking for them and they should come to Firework,” Schneider said, adding the platform wants such creators to be a part of the company. “We want them to work with us.”
Schneider has seen how a lot of top influencers with millions of followers actually have just a small percentage of active fans. In this is why he thinks it makes more sense instead to collaborate with a “100 engaged talents that are producing evergreen content that is authentic”. He explained: “These people have very intimate small followings, but they have an exponentially strong relationship with their fan base.”
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Giving a sneak peek into how the Open Page Story could evolve, Schneider said Firework was working on a tiered programme where, by meeting certain criteria, they are “going to start unlocking really big new exclusive programming”. “I think it’s about taking an intimate more white glove approach to making sure that creators are happy once they’re here, and to give them opportunities like anything.”
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