The Insights Family surveys more than 469,040 kids aged 3–18 and 228,800 different parents a year across 22 countries in 6 continents.

Its latest report, Mapping the World of Content, showcases the biggest global trends, developments and opportunities that are shaking up the content space as we see it.

Here, the company outlines how the creator economy is changing – with teens and tweens taking charge.

Social media has broken down the traditional barriers to entry for content creation. Previously, there were gatekeepers who controlled what content was published in the music, TV, cinema or book industries, making it difficult for creators to independently share their work. The Internet age means that more people now have access to digital tools for creation.

The #1 career aspiration amongst kids aged 13-18 in the UK is IT and computing, emphasising how comfortable teens are in their online ecosystems. Being a YouTuber or vlogger currently ranks at #6 within this demographic, increasing by 73% over the last 9 months. What’s more, the desire to create content for a living has increased in the UK year-on-year by over 35% amongst 6-9 year olds. Globally, it averages as the fourth most popular career aspiration, illustrating the popularity of being a digital creator.

We see a prime example of the creator economy in the growth of TikTok, a platform which has grown in prominence due to the ease of users shooting and editing their own videos. While platforms such as Twitter and Instagram offered short video uploads, TikTok set itself apart by giving kids the tools to create and edit videos on their device, with no additional software or technology required. It is more accessible than YouTube which can require video editing software to make content look professional, not to mention advanced lighting and camera setups top vloggers may use on the platform.

By lowering the creative barrier to entry, TikTok has been able to garner a large audience who wanted to create their own content but may have lacked the means to do so. It is no surprise that amongst UK kids aged 11-18, there is a correlation between the increasing popularity of the platforms and the number of kids sharing their own videos online. Over the last twelve months, the number of teens naming TikTok as their favourite app has grown by 11% whilst the number of teens sharing videos has grown by 28%.

The creator economy has opened up a wealth of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. With the ability to utilise low-cost tools and directly enter the marketplace, kids are capable of building enormous audience advocacy, with scope to leverage licensing deals with brands. Ryan’s World, a vlogger and influencer, is the second most popular YouTuber globally amongst kids aged 3-5. He has a huge presence in the UK, US and Canada and he is a prime example of how kid creators can license their online persona to produce toys for their audience. Licensed toy purchases in relation to 6-9-year-olds’ favourite YouTubers have increased by over 70% in the UK. Creators now have more ability than ever to leverage their popularity in other industries. In the UK, YouTuber related toy purchases have increased +62% year-on-year amongst 3-9 year olds, compared to the +17% growth in the case of films.

The creator economy boom doesn’t stop there. New forms of revenue models are constantly being created and finessed – an evolution that steps beyond traditional confines and offers even more innovation and opportunity. A trend that has grown considerably has been ‘self-referential’ creator content, such as live shopping or gaming content. Going beyond the activity itself and watching your favourite influencer or role-model partake in the activity not only creates a more intimate relationship, but a more informative experience overall, opening up the chance to implement additional commercial opportunities such as advertising or brand sponsorship.

The Insights Family’s new Mapping The World Of Content report discusses the creator economy in further detail and also explores other trends such as platform saturation and digital touchpoints. It is the first report in a series focused on exploring opportunities for brands in the kids and family ecosystem, produced by the company’s new Industry Knowledge team. Download it for free here: get.theinsightsfamily.com/content2022/

* All statistics are taken from the Kids Insights real-time data portal in the last six months (November 2021 – May 2022)