Every week the Insights Team at The Goat Agency pull together the latest news from the social space in a weekly social media industry news round-up. This week we cover Spotify believing podcasts will soon be more profitable than music, Meta launching Horizon Worlds in the UK, and loads more of the latest social media platform updates!
TikTok ‘Sleepfluencer’ Makes $30k A Month
TikTok creator Jakey Boehm has established a significant following across the platform with his content allowing viewers to disrupt his sleep in absurd and creative ways. Jake has essentially turned sleeping into an interactive game for his followers on TikTok.
The creator allows followers to wake him up in ridiculous ways through the triggering of various sounds and lights among other things. Jakey revealed he can earn around $34,000 a month for his antics. The creator has dubbed himself a “sleepfluencer” and has uncovered a new strategy to maximise growth and engagement on the platform.
In order to conduct the bizarre scenarios, Boehm has crafted a custom script that analyses specific phrases or prompts within his live chat. Once a specific prompt has been triggered by his script, a new distraction can be deployed within Boehm’s room, all playing out through a live stream.
Boehm has managed to position himself in the top 30 most viewed streamers in Australia, leading to a trend of more creators doing similar content across the app!
New European Misinformation Rules
Meta, TikTok, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are all planning to sign an updated EU anti-disinformation code that will see platforms have new requirements and penalties for dealing with misinformation.
The Financial Times first reported the news and stated the following:
“According to a confidential report seen by the Financial Times, an updated “code of practice on disinformation” will force tech platforms to disclose how they’re removing, blocking or curbing harmful content in advertising and in the promotion of content. Online platforms will have to counter “harmful disinformation” by developing tools and partnerships with fact-checkers that may include taking down propaganda, but also the inclusion of “indicators of trustworthiness” on independently verified information on issues like the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new rules will require social media platforms to develop tools to detect and remove misinformation. However, the updates to misinformation rules in the EU could see government-approved groups have more say on what counts as fake news.
This factor could be problematic considering the case of other countries where governments wielded their power to suppress free speech. One such example includes Russia, where platforms were banned when users utilised social media to raise awareness of the events on the ground of the invasion of Ukraine.
Musk’s Twitter Takeover Continues
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Elon Musk is set to meet with Twitter staff to answer questions concerning his takeover of Twitter.
As per the report:
“Tesla Inc. chief executive officer will meet with employees since agreeing to buy the company for $44 billion in late April. The virtual meeting is set for Thursday morning, and Musk will take questions from Twitter employees, the people said.”
This meeting was actually scheduled back in April after Musk purchased a majority share in Twitter. According to reports, after meeting top execs, Musk felt the current leadership wasn’t suitable and decided not to meet with staff. However, soon after Musk dropped his $44 billion takeover offer.
Elon Musk has been very vocal about Twitter and has constantly criticised the platform and thus, the work of current employees, so it will be interesting to see how this meeting plays out.
At present, a number of staffers have left Twitter following the takeover plans. But to this point, the deal was seemingly on hold following Musk’s issue with Twitter’s count of fake/spam accounts. However, this meeting suggests the takeover could be continuing!
To find out more about this ever-developing story, why not read our latest blog on the future of Twitter under Elon Musk?
Spotify Believes Podcasts Will Be More Profitable Than Music
Spotify believe that podcasts will soon become more profitable than music! However, for the time being, it appears Spotify has a negative gross margin of -57% for podcast revenue, which was revealed at the 2022 Investor Day event.
Spotify did reveal that in five years, podcasts will jump to 40%-50% gross margins, which would out compete music, which currently generates a gross margin of 28.3% as of 2021. However, Spotify has also stated that music profits will rise to 30%-35% in the next five years.
Spotify operating at a loss for podcast revenue makes sense considering the huge investments made over the years. These investments include costly acquisitions of the likes of Anchor, and exclusive talent deals with Joe Rogan and Alexandra Cooper. Furthermore, Spotify is only monetising 14% of the 3 million podcasts on the platform through in-stream ads. As this percentage increases, so should Spotify’s revenue.
Could Spotify’s investment in podcasting set them up for success in the long term? Spotify seems to think so! In fact, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek told investors that breaking into podcasting took more heavy lifting, but the talent deals helped present a significant threat to competitors such as Amazon and Google.
You can read more about podcasts and why brands should be investing in the audio formats in our blog post!
Meta Is Abandoning Certain Projects
Meta is making some amendments to its product roadmap, which will see the company drop some projects. The products reported to be on hold include the dual camera smartwatch, the AR glasses product and the production of the Portal smart display device as a consumer product.
The reasoning for the abandonment of projects is attributed to the current economic climate, and the impact of Apple’s new day privacy changes. According to estimations, Apple’s new privacy updates have cost Meta around $10 billion in lost ad dollars in 2022 alone. Meta has also paused audio social products, so it appears the company is looking to reduce costs, whilst focusing on metaverse-focused initiatives.
Meta isn’t the only platform that is having issues, Snapchat issued a profit warning with Q2 revenue falling short of targets. Twitter is also facing issues due to losing top executives and paying fines for data breaches.
There appears to be a big squeeze on tech companies, not only with economic issues but with regulatory pressures. However, Mark Zuckerberg is unlikely to abandon broader plans for the metaverse, which might cause a number of other projects to fall by the wayside.
Meta’s VR Worlds Become More Interactive
Meta is launching the ability to invite friends into your Meta Horizon Home environment. This step is yet another in Meta’s metaverse plans, allowing VR users to connect with friends to play games, watch videos and explore virtual worlds together.
As explained by Meta:
“For years, Home has existed as a transitory space. Home is the first thing you see when you put on your Meta Quest headset, and a familiar place to return to when you’re done exploring […] With v41, we’re taking a step towards our long-term vision. As part of this update, we’ll begin gradually rolling out the ability to invite friends to your Meta Horizon Home environment and hang out, coordinate your next gaming session, and even launch your group straight into supported multiplayer experiences.”
Meta’s VR headsets have been the starting point for its metaverse plans, becoming the gateway to VR environments and establishing new social experiences. Meta is hoping VR headsets will become as essential to daily life as phones and have seen sales skyrocket with Meta’s Quest 2 selling 8.7 million units in 2021.
Meta Brings Horizon Worlds To The UK
Meta’s Horizon Worlds is launching in the UK after an initial release in the U.S and Canada. The platform allows users to create virtual spaces using 3D objects and tools to create interactive environments.
Horizon Worlds stands as Meta’s initial experiment with metaverse-like elements and will soon be released to all EU users.
As stated by Meta:
“From the very beginning, we’ve envisioned Horizon Worlds as a creator-friendly VR environment featuring top tier social world-building tools. And by developing those tools and listening to and incorporating feedback from creators, that’s just what it is. But we’re always working to make it even better. For example, last month we launched our first asset library, a collection of pre-made items that creators can use any time they want. Plus, we’ve also committed $10 million USD to help creators get their worlds off the ground.”
Meta continues to develop the capabilities of Horizon Worlds, even testing branded interactive experiences through a collaboration with Wendy’s.
However, Horizon Worlds is by no means a fully realised example of Meta’s metaverse as of yet, with the experience still being rather basic in terms of the digital avatars and VR connection. But, Meta is not slowing down with metaverse projects so we should expect more updates to follow!
Meta Updates Reels Creation Tools
Meta is yet again expanding the creative capabilities of Reels across Instagram and Facebook. Instagram is now prompting users to a new “Remix for photos” option when posting static imagery.
Essentially, this new option allows users to create Reels based on feed post content that can be downloaded into clips. However, users have the ability to turn off the option, if they don’t want other users utilising content in clips.
Furthermore, Instagram is also enabling users to remix any video on the app – although not a new update, it does feed into Instagram’s plans of creating new engagement options across the app.
Facebook is also getting an update, with the ability to create Reels in the Creator Studio by remixing existing video content into shorter clips. Meta plans to make Reels across Facebook a priority as outlined by Facebook’s app chief Tom Alison:
“Today’s genre of public short-form video opens up new ways for people to create and discover content. While Facebook’s discovery engine is designed to support many different formats (text, photos, video, and eventually Metaverse experiences), our biggest gap today is around short-form video, and we’re focused on integrating Reels in Home, Watch, In Feed Recommendations, and Groups.”
Instagram’s New Prompts For Younger Users
Instagram is adding new in-app prompts to help reduce the harmful impacts of overuse and mental health on the app for younger users. One prompt added will seek to re-direct users away from potentially harmful topics, encouraging users to switch to a new topic and find something new, especially if they’ve been looking at the same topic over and over again. Instagram will also be excluding any topics associated with appearance comparison.
Instagram is also updating the “Take a Break” reminders, which will now feature well-known app creators to influence users to utilise the feature and stop overusing the app.
Furthermore, Instagram is adding new parental controls to help parents manage app usage for their children. These updates will allow parents and guardians to send invites to teens to initiate supervision tools, set specific times to limit usage and see reports on an account or post.
The new updates are being tested in specific markets with more regions to follow soon!
YouTube’s Next Stage Of The Black Voices Fund
YouTube’s Black Voices Program launched in 2020, with the objective of providing support for black creators across YouTube to maximise the success of their content.
Now YouTube has now announced the next stage of the program, as explained below:
“As a member of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2023, grantees will be partnered with a dedicated YouTube Strategic Partner manager to optimize and grow their channel and receive a grant that can be used to help elevate their channel.”
Creators can apply now for the 2023 renewal, which will support marginalised communities across YouTube, whilst also funding members of the black community in creative sectors – which is crucial as research has shown black creatives have trouble gaining government-allocated support.
YouTube has also announced new original projects as part of the Black Voices fund including a roundtable discussion series named Recipe For Change.
1.5 Billion Users Engage With YouTube Shorts
YouTube has announced some new insights showcasing the success of YouTube Shorts – its competitor product to TikTok. According to YouTube, Shorts is now being watched by 1.5 billion logged-in users every month.
This is a huge number considering YouTube’s total monthly logged-in audience is 2 billion. This would mean 75% of YouTube users are watching Shorts, which presents a huge opportunity for brands and creators to utilise the format.
We’ve already seen creators set up dedicated Shorts channels to co-exist with main channels, as well as creators reporting Shorts has supported channel growth and their content reaching new audiences.
Shorts may lack the creative tools currently available across TikTok, however, YouTube will be sure to catch up, seeing the value and engagement potential currently illustrated in this new data.
Pinterest’s New Partnership With Tastemade
Pinterest has announced a new partnership with lifestyle content platform Tastemade. The partnership will see the two platforms work on new scripted shows, live-stream programming and in-person events around the world.
As per Pinterest:
“Today, we’re announcing a first-of-its-kind, multi-million dollar, global strategic partnership between Pinterest and Tastemade aimed at scaling creators, content series, and live streaming on Pinterest. The multi-year, multi-territory partnership commences immediately with initial programming launching later this year in the U.S., LATAM, Europe, and APAC.”
Tastemade has an audience of over 300 million and studios around the world, meaning this new partnership will provide Pinterest creators with the opportunity to grow and reach new audiences through the collaboration.
The agreement will see Pinterest and Tastemade develop 50 new shows, debuting exclusively across Pinterest with shoppable links, featuring platform creators and in-app alerts. The deal will also ensure a significant number of hours of live programming for Pinterest TV, while Tastemade will host a series of in-person creator events at their studios.
TikTok Improving Digital Wellbeing
TikTok has added new tools to support digital wellbeing on the app. These updates include “Scheduled Breaks”, which prompts users to implement break reminders in 10, 20, 30-minute or custom time intervals.
TikTok is also adding a detailed screen time summary to help better understand the time spent across varying types of content. Furthermore, TikTok will be introducing well-being prompts for users aged 13-16. The younger user prompts will be triggered when using the app for more than 100 minutes in a day.
TikTok is also adding a new digital wellbeing guide to highlight the harms of app overuse. This move to implement more wellbeing measures makes sense due to rising concerns about the impact of social media use. In fact, China has already implemented laws restricting online gaming for younger users, which will soon stretch to social.
TikTok being owned by ByteDance, the Chinese tech company, means that trends in China will filter down quicker to TikTok, which has been the case with new features such as live streaming on social, so it makes sense that regulatory changes may impact the future of the app.
Spotify Acquires Sonantic
In Spotify’s latest move, the streaming platform has just acquired the London-based startup Sonantic. The company specialises in creating captivating performances using AI-based, emotionally expressive text to speech. Essentially, the company has the technology to make anyone say anything.
Interestingly, the technology was recently used in the latest Top Gun movie to capture Val Kilmer’s voice – who had lost his voice due to throat cancer. Therefore, already the company has a tried and tested use case in Hollywood, so it will be interesting to see how Spotify chooses to utilise Sonantic technology.
VP of personalisation at Spotify made the following statement about the acquisition:
“We’re really excited about the potential to bring Sonantic’s AI voice technology onto the Spotify platform and create new experiences for our users”
Spotify has also stated that the company has identified a number of opportunities for text-to-speech capabilities and believes the technology will be important in growing Spotify’s share of listening. The technology can also engage users when they aren’t looking at screens and could enhance podcasts on the platform.
No financial information has been released about the acquisition of Sonantic, but it shows Spotify isn’t slowing down with integrating new technology to elevate the experience for users across Spotify.
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