expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The gig economy as we know it—and the many growth strategies associated with it—was born out of a recession. After the 2008 financial crisis, companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb allowed laid-off workers (or workers whose hours were cut) to make up for their losses, while ideally adopting a mindset of independence, entrepreneurship, and side hustles. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. While the gig economy has transformed into something more legally and morally complex, it still creates opportunities for the millions who need them.
A lot has changed between 2008 and 2020, when Covid-19 shut down the global economy, leading in time to inflation and then the recession we are only now starting to feel. In the midst of a sea of change, few industries have undergone such dramatic change as the creative space. Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney and Apple are now aggressively competing for exponentially growing audiences whose content consumption habits have soared to eight hours a day During the start of the first wave of lockdowns in April 2020, it hasn’t dropped much since then.
The race to produce more content and make it fresh, innovative, engaging and insightful is more intense than ever. And, as in 2008, this creates opportunity.
related: How to manage supply and demand for new content
Leveling the creative playing field
Another revolution we have witnessed since 2008 is the quantum leap. Gigabit internet is now widely available in many cities — unlocking ridiculously fast direct-to-home for less than $100 a month — which means faster uploads and downloads and more streaming capabilities. At the same time, the cameras bear little resemblance to their decade-old predecessors: Blackmagic, for example, has a new sub-$3,000 model that can shoot 6K video, while Apple recently introduced a model with 48mp Camera for iPhone, capable of shooting 8K video. These are relatively affordable alternatives to devices that easily exceeded $10,000 a few years ago.
Perhaps the biggest shift, however, is in data storage. Professional creatives are moving from expensive physical servers to cloud-based solutions, and they rightly see remote work, AI integration and cloud computing as the future of the industry. In 2013, Adobe transformed its one-time purchase software into a cloud-based SaaS solution, recognizing the need for flexible and multi-platform creative collaboration.
Working this way frees the shackles that once bound content creators. Modern cloud technology makes it possible to view and process large video resolutions from any device with an internet connection, as most of the heavy lifting is not done by the device itself.
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For indie creators who don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on a server, or just prefer the flexibility of a SaaS solution that scales up and down, the payoff is a more affordable solution. Find the right cloud-based content management system, and you can even combine multiple SaaS subscriptions into one.
We are in the midst of democratizing creative expression like never before in the world—an evolution that has completely changed the game for creative professionals, especially small businesses and freelancers who do most of the work in production. This is also important because most movies and TV shows are not produced by a single studio that pays employees, but by small production companies that use freelancers.
These revolutionary shifts in camera hardware, cloud computing and internet speeds have opened up a new opportunity for independent content creators to find new jobs and create their own work without the resources once only available from large corporations.
Now is the time to subvert
Creatives can be forgiven for fretting over the current recession. After all, in almost any downturn, the first thing policymakers do is cut costs, and if they can’t find other solutions, they start thinking about personnel. Creatives at these levels are generally considered expendable and therefore vulnerable.
But over the past three years, we’ve seen the opposite: There’s a huge demand for arts, entertainment, and culture. Ask nearly everyone stuck at home what has helped them get through this pandemic: Aside from hobbies, most will report that movies and TV have made a difference.
related: Bill Gates said in 1996 that “content is king”. But is this still true?
So my message to creatives is simple: this recession is an opportunity. Streaming platforms are hungry for new stories more than ever, and the potential audience is the widest ever. Unprecedented technology can help you create anything you want and share it with the world.