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There’s an old truism that if you do what you love, the money will follow. For some influencers, that’s proven to be true; the rise of platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and TikTok has afforded creatives the means to share what they love with millions of people and get paid for doing so.
Consider Critical Role: by sharing their home game online, six voice actors were able to turn Dungeons & Dragons from a niche interest into a mainstream sensation. Even those with odd hobbies can make a living on social media if they achieve enough visibility — Netflix recently launched a show featuring baking influencers who specialize in making hyper-realistic cake replicas of everyday items, for example.
The fundamental philosophy behind influencer culture is that if your content is engaging enough, you should be able to make a living by creating it. Per a 2020 MediaKix report, up to 42 million influencers are currently active across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. But while creator interests are near-infinite, their opportunities for financial success are not.
Monetization provides limited income — and only for certain creatives
There’s no doubt that influencers with established audiences can make a good living. According to estimates from CNBC, YouTubers who have 1,000 subscribers and generate 24 million views per year can make around $100,000. However, monetization isn’t a given for new creators; users need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and accrue 4,000 “valid public watch hours” over a year just to qualify for the YouTube’s Partner Program (YPP).
Moreover, making the kind of high-quality content that attracts subscribers requires time and effort — and when an aspiring influencer chooses to create content full time, they lose the financial safety net that a nine-to-five job might have otherwise provided. Those who qualify for monetization might still need to supplement their income to stay afloat if their ad revenue doesn’t deliver enough income.
Some creators might try to bridge the funding gap by offering monthly subscription options to their audiences through platforms like Patreon. However, many mid-level influencers turn to a more lucrative, if risky, option: brand partnerships.
Brand partnerships can provide critical financial support — and undermine authenticity
Today, influencer marketing stands as a $13.8 billion industry. In theory, it’s a perfect partnership — brands want to target audiences with specific interests, and influencers can offer a platform to reach them.
But sometimes, selling airtime can seem to viewers like selling out.
“Using their own social media channels, influencers often give the impression that they have a personal rather than a commercial relationship with the brand and the products they promote,” researchers explained in a study published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing earlier this year.
The study’s writers noted that this trend could pose a problem for smaller content creators because consumers don’t expect them to have the same corporate relationships that a mega-influencer — say, a celebrity — might have.
“If nano influencers disclose a paid relationship, consumers may feel deceived because they expected the post to be a personal recommendation,” they explained. “Thus, consumers’ expectations are negatively disconfirmed, which decreases that post’s trustworthiness and subsequently produces lower evaluations of both the brand and the influencer.”
Brand partnerships have ethical implications, too. Popular YouTube mixologist Greg Titian touched on this issue last December, when he posted a video review of two automated drink-making machines.
“Bartesian has been reaching out to me about doing something about sponsorship for a long time,” Titian said. “And I haven’t replied, like…I can’t use your machine in a sponsored thing because I have to review it, and I can’t review it if you give it to me for free or pay me to review it. I had to pay for this with my own money.”
There’s no doubt that brand partnerships offer an invaluable funding option for full-time creators. However, taking on the wrong brand — or simply featuring too many brands — can backfire if viewers start to view the content as too commercial or inauthentic to the experience they expect.
But how can influencers uphold their authenticity without going broke in the process? Some lucky few might go viral and accumulate enough viewers to generate a living through monetization; however, most will need to balance promotion and authentic content to stay afloat. The risk of audience alienation is perpetual and unavoidable; one poorly-handled post could drive away valuable viewers for good.
But what if content creators not only had the means to embrace authenticity but the chance to be paid for staying true to their audiences? SocialFi — cryptocurrency-empowered social media — may just give content creators the opportunity they need to thrive without relying on brand partnerships.
SocialFi could empower creators to deliver authentic content
SocialFi puts a DeFi spin on social media engagement. On crypto-empowered social networks, users can earn tokens by creating or engaging with content; over time, these social activities can translate into substantial real-world earnings if a creator is popular enough.
Though SocialFi is a relatively new concept, it doesn’t feel out of place — if anything, the idea represents a natural next step in platform advancement. Rather than asking consumers to learn new behaviors, SocialFi apps would simply monetize the activities users already engage in every day.
The movement has already begun; last fall, Twitter started to allow Bitcoin tipping for creators. Around the same time, Binance Smart Chain announced that SocialFi would be a significant area of focus for its $500 million investment program. Solana Ventures, an incubator focused on developing innovative Solana-based apps, similarly shared its intent to award $100 million in funding to Web3 social startups.
The importance of these advancements for content creators can’t be understated. If SocialFi achieves mass adoption, creators could leave ethically-challenging corporate partnerships behind and rely on their audiences for funding.
Audiences, for their part, might take a more active role in empowering their favorite creatives to provide authentic content. Consumers are undeniably willing to do so — just look at Patreon’s latest participation numbers. Today, the creator-funding platform hosts more than 6 million active subscribers who have collectively delivered over $2 billion to creators.
Or, consider viral examples like author Brandon Sanderson’s 2022 Kickstarter. In just 35 minutes, Sanderson’s campaign to fund four new books blew past its $1 million goal. As of this writing, the campaign had topped nearly $35 million.
The reality is, if people want specific content, they’ll do what they can to help the creator produce it. SocialFi could provide digital creatives with the means to deliver content without risking audience disengagement by relying on ads and partnerships. This is the next step in social media evolution — SocialFi can ensure that, for creators who share their interests with the world, the money will follow.
Sakina Arsiwala is a co-founder of Taki.
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AMD CEO says 5-nm Zen 4 processors coming this fall
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Advanced Micro Devices revealed its 5-nanometer Zen 4 processor architecture today at the Computex 2022 event in Taiwan.
The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors with Zen 4 cores will be coming this fall, said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, in a keynote speech.
Su said the new processors with Zen 4 architecture will deliver a significant increase in performance upon their launch in the fall of 2022. Additionally, Su highlighted the strong growth and momentum for AMD in the mobile market as 70 of the more than 200 expected ultrathin, gaming and commercial notebook designs powered by Ryzen 6000 Series processors have been launched or announced to-date.
In addition, other AMD executives announced the newest addition to the Ryzen Mobile lineup, “Mendocino;” the newest AMD smart technology, SmartAccess Storage; and more details of the new AM5 platform, including support from leading motherboard manufacturers.
“At Computex 2022 we highlighted growing adoption of AMD in ultrathin, gaming, and commercial notebooks from the leading PC providers based on the leadership performance and battery life of our Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors,” said Su. “With our upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors, we will bring even more leadership to the desktop market with our next-generation 5-nm Zen 4 architecture and provide an unparalleled, high-
performance computing experience for gamers and creators.”
AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors
The new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors will double the amount of L2 cache per core, feature higher clock speeds, and are projected to provide greater than 15% uplift in single-thread performance versus the prior generation, for a better desktop PC experience.
During the keynote, a pre-production Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processor was demonstrated running at 5.5 GHz clock speed throughout AAA game play. The same processor was also demonstrated performing more than 30% faster than an Intel Core i9 12900K in a Blender multi-threaded rendering workload.
In addition to new “Zen 4” compute dies, the Ryzen 7000 series features an all-new 6nm I/O die. The new I/O die includes AMD RDNA 2-based graphics engine, a new low-power architecture adopted from AMD Ryzen mobile processors, support for the latest memory and connectivity technologies like DDR5 and PCI Express 5.0, and support for up to four displays.
AMD Socket AM5 Platform
The new AMD Socket AM5 platform provides advanced connectivity for our most demanding enthusiasts. This new socket features a 1718-pin LGA design with support for up to 170W TDP processors, dual-channel DDR5 memory, and new SVI3 power infrastructure for leading all-core performance with our Ryzen 7000 Series processors. AMD Socket AM5 features the most PCIe 5.0 lanes in the industry with up to 24 lanes, making it our fastest, largest, and most expansive desktop platform with support for the next-generation and beyond class of storage and graphics cards.
And AMD said the “Mendocino” processors will offer great everyday performance and are expected to be priced from $400 to $700.
Featuring “Zen 2” cores and RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics, the processors are designed to deliver the best battery life and performance in the price band so users can get the most out of their laptop at an attractive price.
The first systems featuring the new “Mendocino” processors will be available from computer partners in Q4 2022.
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AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores
AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips will mark another major milestone for the company: they’ll be the first desktop processors running 5 nanometer cores. During her Computex keynote presentation today, AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that Ryzen 7000 chips will launch this fall. Under the hood, they’ll feature dual 5nm Zen 4 cores, as well as a redesigned 6nm I/O core (which includes RDNA2 graphics, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 controllers and a low-power architecture). Earlier this month, the company teased its plans for high-end “Dragon Range” Ryzen 7000 laptop chips, which are expected to launch in 2023.
Since this is just a Computex glimpse, AMD isn’t giving us many other details about the Ryzen 7000 yet. The company says it will offer a 15 percent performance jump in Cinebench’s single-threaded benchmark compared to the Ryzen 5950X. Still, it’d be more interesting to hear about multi-threaded performance, especially given the progress Intel has made with its 12th-gen CPUs. You can expect 1MB of L2 cache per core, as well as maximum boost speeds beyond 5GHz and better hardware acceleration for AI tasks.
AMD is also debuting Socket AM5 motherboards alongside its new flagship processor. The company is moving towards a 1718-pin LGA socket, but it will still support AM4 coolers. That’s a big deal if you’ve already invested a ton into your cooling setup. The new motherboards will offer up to 24 channels of PCIe 5.0 split across storage and graphics, up to 14 USB SuperSpeed ports running at 20 Gbps, and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports. You’ll find them in three different flavors: B650 for mainstream systems, X650 for enthusiasts who want PCIe 5.0 for storage and graphics and X650 Extreme for the most demanding folks.
Given that Intel still won’t have a 7nm desktop chip until next year (barring any additional delays), AMD seems poised to once again take the performance lead for another generation. But given just how well Intel’s hybrid process for its 12th-gen chips has worked out, it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to respond. If anything, it sure is nice to see genuine competition in the CPU space again.
While Ryzen 7000 will be AMD’s main focus for the rest of the year, the company is also throwing a bone to mainstream laptops in the fourth quarter with its upcoming 6nm “Mendocino” CPUs. They’ll sport four 6nm Zen 2 cores, as well as RDNA 2 graphics, making them ideal for systems priced between $399 and $699. Sure, that’s not much to get excited about, but even basic machines like Lenovo’s Ideapad 1 deserve decent performance. And for many office drones, it could mean having work-issued machines that finally don’t stink.
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Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront
With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices among the major ad-supported streamers. The pricey pitch is representative of a broader rising tide in streaming ad pricing in this year’s TV advertising upfront market, as Disney-owned Hulu, Amazon and even Fox’s Tubi are looking to press upfront advertisers to pay up.
In its initial pitch to advertisers and their agencies, Disney is seeking CPMs for Disney+ around $50, according to agency executives. That price point applies to broad-based targeting dubbed “P2+,” which refers to an audience of any viewer who is two years old or older (though Disney has told agency executives that programming aimed at viewers seven years old and younger will be excluded from carrying ads). In other words, more narrowly targeted ads are expected to cost more based on the level of targeting. A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.
At a $50 CPM, Disney+ is surpassing the prices that NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max sought in last year’s upfront market and that gave ad buyers sticker shock. The former sought CPMs in the $30 to $40 range, while the latter sought $40+ CPMs. By comparison, other major ad-supported streamers like Hulu, Discovery+ and Paramount+ were charging low-to-mid $20 CPMs that major ad-supported streamers charge. As a result, Peacock’s and HBO Max’s asks ended up being price prohibitive, with some advertisers limiting the amount of money they spent with the streamers because of their higher rates.
Unsurprisingly, agency executives are balking at Disney+’s price point. “They’re citing pricing that no longer exists, meaning Peacock and HBO Max recognized they came out too high and they’re reducing it. Disney+ is using earmuffs to pretend that second part didn’t happen,” said one agency executive.
However, Disney+ isn’t the only streamer seeking to raise the rates that ad buyers are accustomed to paying. Hulu is also seeking to increase its prices in this year’s upfront, with P2+ pricing going from a $20-$25 CPM average to averaging in the $25-$30 CPM range, according to agency executives. And during a call with reporters on May 16, Fox advertising sales president Marianne Gambelli said that the company will seek higher prices for its free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi in this year’s upfront market. It’s unclear what Tubi’s current rates are, but FAST services’ CPMS are typically in the low to mid teens, said the agency executives.
“We have to get the value for Tubi. Tubi has grown to a point — it’s doubled, tripled in size over the past couple of years. So we are going to obviously make that a priority and look for not only more volume but price,” Gambelli said.
Meanwhile, in pitching its Thursday Night Football package that will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon has been pressing for a premium on what Fox charged advertisers last year, according to agency executives. The e-commerce giant will be handling the games’ ad placements like traditional TV, meaning that it will run the same ad in each ad slot for every viewer as opposed to dynamically inserting targeted ads. “It’s streaming broadcast,” said a second agency executive.
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on pricing but did provide a general statement. “Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and Twitch is a purely digital broadcast, and we’re excited to bring fans a new viewing experience. There are 80MM active Prime Video households in the U.S. and, in a survey of our 2021 TNF audience, 38% reported they don’t have a pay-TV service – meaning TNF on Prime Video and Twitch enables brands to connect with cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Brands can also reach these viewers beyond TNF. Our first-party insights enable them to reengage TNF audiences across Amazon, such as in Freevee content.”
One of the agency executives that Digiday spoke to said the latest ask is for a plus-10% increase on Fox’s rates, though what Fox’s rates were are unclear and other agency executives said the premium that Amazon is asking for varies. Ad Age reported in February that Amazon was seeking up to 20% higher prices than Fox’s rates. “I don’t know if it is consistently plus-10, but it is definitely more. Which is crazy because Fox couldn’t make money on it, which is why they gave it up for this fall,” said a second agency executive.
“Someone was eating way too many gummies before they put the pricing together,” said a second agency executive of Amazon’s Thursday Night Football pitch.
Ad-supported streaming service owners also see an opportunity to push for higher prices as advertisers to adopt more advanced targeting with their streaming campaigns, such as by using the media companies’ and/or advertisers’ first-party data to aim their ads on the streamers.
Said one TV network executive, “You’ll see premiums, especially as it relates to advertisers that really want to hook into [their company’s streaming service] and buy those targeted audiences across the platform and either use [the TV network’s] first-party data or bring their own data to the table. That’s the biggest business we’re in, and that’s where we see great growth from a pricing standpoint.”
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