Look around and you’ll see how almost every major industry has been disrupted in the last few years. The rapid evolution of tech and the role of the internet has seen companies like Uber, AirBnb, Deliveroo and countless others radically shift the way we engage with those industries. And it’s clear that this is happening within the acting world too with the dominance of Netflix. All of these evolutions have been predicated by giving the end consumer more power and control over their time.
To that end we’re in an era where the traditional routes to market are no longer the only game in town. As someone who has worked in Digital Marketing for over 10 years I’ve been in an interesting position of being able to observe how these new industries and platforms intersect with the acting world.
You won’t have to search long to find information on why actors should have a social media presence. And it’s now common place these days. Yet, I do wonder if people are just having them, well……to have them. Without a foundation of what they mean. It’s easy to get lost in the micro level of using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on. But it’s essential to understand the macro level as well. The patterns are clear, these platforms have taken the power away from what used to be a media industry controlled by a handful of people. Now, the opportunity exists for any individual to create and distribute at scale. To effectively operate as their own media agency.
The networks as we know them are struggling, trying to keep up with a Netflix dominated world and in an era where Youtube, Instagram and Snapchat are like the new NBC, CBS and ABC. Podcasts are what radio once was, print is what you now find on Medium or Twitter (for short form). To anyone around 25 or under this may seem like the norm. And it’s no surprise that these are the demographics that are creating the most online/youtube celebrities. For those older, we remember the dial up days. A time when the internet was new and the paths to market were much more linear.
I think it’s easy for us to get in a place where we over-glamorize the past and demonize the present (and future). For all the talk of what the internet and social media may be doing to society, the real thing to keep in mind is………it’s not going anywhere. So what are you going to do with it? I can tell you first hand that most big global brands are still undermining online marketing, choosing to spend 80%+ of their media budget on traditional marketing. This leaves an opportunity for many of us to create content on these platforms to build an audience. For now, we’re only seeing a handful of early adopters leverage the power of these tools. Will Smith’s vlog jumps to mind. It’s a smart move by a great actor and an equally great business man. Will has kept current and realized that online is where the attention is.
These days, there’s nothing stopping any of us from creating clips, scenes, shorts, podcasts and using them to build an audience on these platforms. Yes, talent will always win out. But now, for perhaps the first time in history, you can reach the end consumer on your own. You can work outside the system to build up leverage and attention in a way that will get the systems attention.
It’s an unparalleled opportunity, that we should all be taking advantage of. Shift into thinking like a media agency and start building your audience, it’s the new way!