By Nicholas Anakwue
The African GenZ’s creative hustle
In the past few months, music halls and event locations have been active and awake with Kizz Daniel’s Buga, with young happy-go-lucky GenZs, mouthing the lyrics: Don’t sleep, wake up! Collect ya money.
The popular 2022 hit song, which had enjoyed a massive three-month run across charts in the country, reflects summarily the inspiration and motivation of young people on the African continent. With over 70% of its sub-Saharan population below the age of 30, the African continent, dubbed the motherland, holds the world’s largest population of young people (United Nations, 2022). Yet, in spite of this powerhouse of potential, Africa is grovelling in significant social and economic challenges, with over 60% of her thriving youth population unemployed (Business Insider, 2022).
Create magic with the world as oyster
Even in the face of these hindrances, these young Africans find that they are talented and creative, and that with the power of the internet which bridges the persisting divides of space and time, they can reach and connect with vast audiences. Prior to now, earlier creators were largely limited to the high-cost traditional media routes, like the radio, televisions, newspapers, CDs, etc.
However, digital technologies and the internet presented a unique superpower – that of boundlessness and the unspeakable power of content. Content is king, and the creator, the majestic kingmaker.
The commercial power of video in Africa: Unlocking possibilities
Even as social platforms and the use of content have performed phenomenally, since the advent of web 2.0, there is a new wave of prominence in video content across the world. PwC, in a 2019 report, estimates that data consumption on video content in Nigeria will hit over 6 million gigabytes by 2023. Globally, the content creator economy is reckoned to be over $100 billion, with Africa enjoying just a meagre share of the pie (The Guardian, 2022).
While content is of great essence to brands looking at growing a share of voice, and consequently, a share of wallet, video is the strongest tool in their arsenal. What can be said in static text, can be said better in moving pixels!
And this is even more evident in today’s world where the people want to hear, see and appreciate the African in all his/her cultural splendour. In June 2022, Khaby Lame, the Senegalese-born comedian and content creator on TikTok, became the most popular person on the platform, with over 142.5 million followers around the globe. Asides from this, Nigerian music, in recent times, has gotten the world dancing to the same electrifying Afrobeat.
Apart from the colourful allure of these musical beats, people are drawn and enthralled by the beauty of African wears on display, the creativity of dance-steps and the general quality of presentation within these videos. Imagine how uniquely African retail brands could connect with a burgeoning audience both in Africa and globally through these video content across numerous social platforms. This is where the hidden opportunity lies!
Video e-commerce: Monetizing the creator’s genius
Adobe’s Future of Creativity 2022 report details that content creators averagely earn over $61 per hour, with the potential of increasing earnings annually to over $122K if done full-time. For influencers, this figure comes up to $81 per hour, with over $162K full-time. However, the report goes on to point out that rather than aspiring to be influencers, about 40% of content creators aspire to be business owners. This is especially so for GenZ creators who are keen on paths leading them to business ownership, and building their brands into business outfits.
As of early 2021, Forbes in an article by Jia Wertz, had predicted the future trend and power of e-commerce in live-shopping. Through these means, content creators were transforming their creative power into businesses. According to Coresight, in 2019, live-shopping had generated over $60 billion in global sales, with a significant majority of this coming from Asian markets. Along with video e-commerce, this new trend is remarkably disrupting the sector even further, with two startups worthy of note within this vertical.
A video e-commerce startup in the US that is majorly focused on unleashing the power of the creator. Through a blend of entertainment, technology and e-commerce, DroppTV targets the Black-American population, offering them opportunities to purchase products in the videos, using links within the video.
Edekee is another video e-commerce startup, based however in Nigeria, and transforming the e-commerce experience on the African continent, and on the roughly $9 billion e-commerce-strong diaspora African population. The startup focuses on an even more interactive model for monetizing video content through product tags that appear on the video when paused. Through its patent-pending technology, Edekee targets a young and vibrant demography of young people on the continent fired with creative inspiration, enabling them to make money from their content.
The future is rich with opportunity
In today’s internet age, where connectivity exceeds the limiting bounds of space and time, many creators realise that their possible reach is immense. There is a massive audience out there that is keen on connecting with peculiar niches and categories of expression. However, many content creators are limited by funds.
This is because the creation process is not only mentally exhausting, it is also cost-heavy. As such, as the creator economy continues to grow exceedingly on the African continent, without a doubt, greater opportunities come into focus for content creators looking to capture more value for themselves and for their brands and businesses.
Nicholas Anakwue, a business and marketing professional, lives in Lagos.