New Delhi/Mumbai: Mizoram based video creator Adeline Pach claims her followers on Meta’s photo and video sharing app Instagram went up from 50,000 to 170,000 after she joined the Born on Instagram programme last year. As per the company, the programme is designed to help creators across India build a sustainable presence on the platform through an e learning course, live masterclasses with ‘experts’, latest information on reel trends and earning opportunities.
“It has helped me a lot , I don’t need to depend on anyone in terms of finance, travel and other necessities. Before BOI, I didn’t have proper guidance or knowledge about influencers and how much they get paid, especially in terms of working with companies. The maximum that I used to take in was around Rs 15,000 in a month. After BOI, and with the help of partner managers etc, I now earn upto Rs 1 lakh or sometimes even more,” Pach added.
Earnings and avenues for social media influencers, gamers and streamers are rising in India, through newer formats, features, programmes, and direct monetization opportunities being offered by platforms, spurring many to chuck regular professions and pursue their passions full time.
Meta (formerly Facebook) said it has seen an over 35% year on year growth in the number of monetizing Facebook creators and video publishers in India as on September 2021. By the end of 2022, the company plans to globally invest over $1 billion in programmes that give creators new ways to earn money for the content they create on Facebook and Instagram.
Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships at Facebook India (Meta) said Reels has spurred the growth of branded content collaborations and there has been an increase in the number of creators who have attained a national following. “We’re shaping this ecosystem by providing adequate creative tools, monetization and partnership opportunities and learning resources through programs like Born on Instagram, he added.
It’s raining collaborations on Instagram for 24-year-old Vaishnavi Nalbalwar, who shifted six months ago to Pune from Raigarh. Though Nalbalwar completed her M Tech in chemical engineering and even landed a job at Tata Motors, she does not see herself working from ‘9-5.’
Nalbalwar has been on Instagram since 2019, but her popularity catapulted through short video format Reels with some of the videos posted on her account journey_towards_fashion went viral, hitting millions of views. Nalbalwar also launched her own clothing brand NaviStyle (navistyle_) on Instagram six months ago and wants to focus on social media full time for now.
“Once Reels was launched, the following and engagement rose massively. This led to increased brand engagements and payouts. This has further gone up in the past six months, especially as I have become more visible with the launch of my own brand too,” she added. Instagram announced it was globally launching advertisements on Reels in June last year.
Ajay Vidyasagar, regional director, APAC at YouTube Partnerships said the creator economy is driving significant contributions to the Indian economy, and more creators are making a living on YouTube than ever before. “We believe creators should have as many ways and opportunities to make money as possible and this is more important than ever. Over the past few years, we’ve been working to build a multi-faceted business that helps YouTube creators grow and diversify their revenue. We’ve sought to find new revenue streams that tap into the relationships between creators and fans to deliver extra value through paid digital goods such as Super Chat, Super Thanks and channel memberships,” he added.
An industry insider said some big influencers are raking in lakhs through features such as Super Chats. “More opportunities are being built on platforms for creators to make more money. One source of revenue that YouTube brought all along was the ad revenue. Turns out that’s not enough. Gamers and comedians are increasingly leveraging Super Chat and could at times earn lakhs of rupees with live streams stretching for hours. Subscribers and followers can pay them directly,” he said. As per YouTube, with eight different ways for creators to earn revenue in India, the number of YouTube channels making Rs 100, 000 or more in revenue is up over 60%, year over year (as of June 2021).
The number of channels in India that earn a majority of revenue from alternative monetization products in June 2021 saw an increase over 140% compared to the prior year.
“Finding new ways to reward trusted creators financially and help them ramp up their businesses will always be a top priority for us,” Vidyasagar said.
Microblogging platform Twitter launched Tips in 2021 as a new way for people to send and receive support with cash gifts. Through Tips, users can support their favourite content creators and the feature is available to all individuals above 18 years on iOS and Android in India. According to Twitter, India became the first market outside the US to get a local payment gateway, Razorpay, as a payment provider on Tips. This year, Twitter also added Paytm as a payments partner. The company did not share if adoption and usage was going up in India but said the feature is available in multiple Indian languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil.
Other platforms are offering monetization too. Abhijit Singh, a 20-year old gamer from North Pargana in West Bengal, is an engineering student, but sees a future in game streaming. He was earlier streaming on YouTube, but moved to Rooter on April 9 last year. Within one year, he now has 35000 followers and some of his streams have crossed 100,000 views.
“Today, there are many monetization avenues for us. I was earlier streaming on YouTube, but it allows you to redeem only after the amount reaches $100. They also cut 40% commission on advertising and 30% on Super Chat. Here, I get to take 90% of the earnings,” he added.
Rooter allows fans to gift diamonds to streamers. For instance, a user can buy 100 diamonds for Rs 10. At the time of redemption, which can be done via Paytm, Rooter takes a 10% commission.
“Diamonds are very cheap so a lot more people can take part and gift these. They (users) also like to see their names in bold in chats,” said Singh, who goes by the account name, The Singh Babu on the platform, and streams for around 3-4 hours every day.