It’s no longer about audiences, it’s about communities

It’s not about who breaks the news; it’s about where conversations occur. Media outlets must face that reality by accepting that content creators and artificial intelligence compete in the same space. On the one hand, content creators are building the communities that publishers envy. On the other, AI will increasingly demonstrate its importance as a key player in content generation in the coming years, including the type of news and information that is supposed to be the remaining stronghold for media outlets.

The creators’ influence won’t go away. It will become even more significant as their communities consume content and evolve into what YouTube calls “professional fans.” Having followers as allies who consume and create content will ensure cultural relevance and create significant opportunities for creators to develop intellectual property.

One of the biggest bets around that will happen from January to March, when Gerard Pique’s Kings League is set to be played. Piqué is not a creator by himself. But he partnered with 12 top Spanish-speaking streamers to create a whole new soccer league, with each creator in charge of their teams.

Ibai, who holds the current global record for the most viewers in a live stream on Twitch; Kun Agüero (the former Argentinean footballer who has become an internet celebrity); and Iker Casillas (in his new role as a successful TikTok creator), among others, will stream each of their team’s matches on their channels, with their communities sharing and commenting on everything that happens in the seven-a-side-football tournament.

What we’re seeing with Mr. Beast launching his brands with Feastables and Beast Burger is just the beginning. The people getting customers interested in the opening of new stores are creators, not media outlets. They have communities. Publishers have audiences — a big problem for the media industry when it comes to earning money.

In 2023, many publishers will follow in the footsteps of Puck and The Generalist. A few months ago, Mario Gabriele decided that The Generalist’s paywall would not be based on exclusive content but on access to its network. Currently, The Generalist is one of the most innovative cases in the media landscape. Puck doesn’t publish regular news; they share in-depth analyses that people can read, listen to, or debate with their journalists through Zoom calls and exclusive conferences.

Relying on regular news will remain a key business for some legacy media outlets. Still, the vast majority won’t succeed if they prioritize algorithms rather than building a deeper relationship with their readers. Artificial intelligence will soon be more effective than humans at writing news; creators are making spaces where people get together to discuss and analyze the hottest stories in general news and particular niches. People spend only a few minutes reading the information but invest plenty of time watching and chatting with creators on Twitch, TikTok Live, or YouTube.

Journalists have to understand the importance of co-creation. It’s already happening in some of the newest media outlets in the U.S., but most Spanish-language media outlets remain focused on getting the big number that takes them to the top on Comscore. Next year should be when media outlets accept that times have changed and that audiences demand to be closer, listened to, and part of something more than what they can read everywhere on the internet.

Mauricio Cabrera is a media analyst and the founder of Story Baker.

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