Technology has radically redrawn the map of the creative industries
Firstly, access to creative networks has greatly increased. Previously agencies, from talent to advertising, had privileged and nepotistic access to networks of creative makers. They intermediated transactions, and project managed, and in order to access the creative makers, you needed to know these agencies.
With the rise of the internet, this is no longer true. Creative makers and doers, whether acting individually (freelancer, independent), or in smaller groups (boutique agencies, collectives) can now self promote, run their own operations like accounting, and are accessible by anyone anywhere in the world. A side benefit is this has also given a voice to more diverse voices.
Secondly, access to creative audiences have greatly increased. Where before there were a select number of channels gatekept by media men, now there are an ever growing number of channels across all manners of media types. Not only are there more channels, but self-publishing is easier than ever, as digital first platforms provide the tools to post, target and monitor with greater detail than ever before. It’s hard to appreciate now, but Tiktok is less than 5 years old, but it’s the frontier of video advertising today.
Thirdly, the raw technological tools for creative makers to create have become increasingly accessible. iPhones now have cameras with the quality sufficient to shoot movie quality film, to the ability for kids around the world to learn procreate and figma
There are concerns that technology isn’t just a positive force in the creative spheres, with the looming threat of AI automating people out of jobs. While machine learning is a rapidly developing field, inherent to the models is the inability to be truly creative. Rather, the algorithms rebuild from the old ideas they were trained from. Rather than replace, algorithms and AI will enhance creative teams. Much like Google autocomplete, instead of completely automating creative tasks and taking the human part out of the equation, software will help users accomplish tasks faster and better.
As a result, we see the landscape changing - technology is giving everyone a much greater capacity to be creative. Instead of the arguments like in-house vs agency, we believe that the playing field will be levelled for all. A couple of grads can come out and make a film of as high quality as . All that will matter is creative ideas.
Yet, with technological change come challenges. As the industry changes so too do the mechanics, and so too rise the administrative hurdles.
Firstly, as the workforce diversifies and more people become independent and freelance, there has been an impact on governments to collect tax revenues on this new company - worker interaction. As a result, we’ve recently seen regulation cropping up around the world, ushering in rules around these engagements, from IR35 in the UK, to AB5 in California.
Secondly, as more people have an increased capacity to be creative, how do they learn the language of creative work. From how to write a brief, through to expectations of day rates, the intricacies of licencing, and simply how you run shoot day, there is a burden of education to bring those dabbling in creativity for the first time. Furthermore, as regulation changes, even the experienced hands have new checkboxes to fill.
Thirdly, as the number of channels increase, so too does the demand for more content in increasingly changing formats. Invariably, budgets don’t scale linearly with this requirement, but the hurdles become greater because there’s also an increasing challenge of standing out.