Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The gig economy as we know it – and many of the growth strategies that accompany it – emerged out of a recession. After the 2008 financial crisis, companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb allowed laid-off workers (or those whose hours were cut) to recoup losses while ideally adopting a mindset of independence, entrepreneurship, and part-time dynamism. As the old saying goes: Necessity is the mother of invention. While the gig economy has since evolved into something more legally and ethically complex, it is still creating opportunities for millions who need them.
Much changed between 2008 and 2020 as Covid-19 crippled economies worldwide, over time causing inflation, then a recession that we are only now beginning to feel. In this sea of change, few industries have been revolutionized as dramatically as the creative industries. Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney and Apple are now aggressively competing for an exponentially growing audience whose consumption habits skyrocketed to eight hours a day at the start of the first lockdown wave in April 2020 and have not declined much since.
The race to produce more content – and to make it fresh, innovative, compelling and insightful – is fiercer than ever. And just like in 2008, this offers opportunities.
Related: How to manage the supply and demand for new content
Leveling the creative playing field
Another revolution we’ve witnessed since 2008 is a leap in quantum technology. Gigabit internet is now widely available in many cities — for less than $100 a month with absurdly high speeds delivered straight to your home — meaning faster uploads and downloads and more streaming power. Cameras, on the other hand, hardly resemble their decades-old predecessors: Blackmagic, for example, has a new sub-$3,000 model that can record 6K video, while Apple recently unveiled an iPhone that comes with a 48-megapixel camera capable of 8K can record. These are comparatively affordable alternatives for devices that would have easily topped $10,000 a few years ago.
Perhaps the biggest change, however, has come with data storage. Moving away from expensive physical servers and towards cloud-based solutions, professional creatives are rightly seeing 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 desire for flexible and cross-platform creative collaboration.
Working this way throws off the shackles that once bound content creators. Modern cloud technology ensures that any device with an internet connection can display and process large video resolutions, since most of the heavy lifting is not done by the device itself.
Related: Become a cloud pro with this AWS training course
Payout is a more affordable solution for independent developers who don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a server or simply prefer the flexibility of SaaS solutions that can scale up and down. Find the right cloud-based content management system and you can even consolidate several of these SaaS subscriptions into one.
We’re in the midst of the greatest democratization of creative expression the world has ever seen – a development that’s completely game-changing for creative professionals, especially the small businesses and freelancers who do the lion’s share of the work in production. This is additionally critical as most movies and TV shows are not made by monolithic studios paying their employee salaries, but by smaller production companies using freelancers.
These revolutionary changes in camera hardware, cloud computing and internet speed have opened a new era of opportunity for independent content creators to find new jobs and create their own work without requiring the resources once only provided by larger companies .
The time for disruption is now
Creatives could be forgiven for worrying about the current recession. After all, the first thing decision makers do in almost every economic downturn is cut costs, and when they can’t find other solutions, they start looking at staff. Creatives in these ranks are often perceived as expendable and therefore vulnerable.
But in the last three years the opposite has been true: there is a huge demand for arts, entertainment and culture. Ask almost anyone stuck at home what helped them get through the pandemic: Hobbies aside, most will report that it was movies and TV that made the difference.
Related: Bill Gates said “Content is King” in 1996. But is that still true?
So my message to creatives is simple: this recession is an opportunity. Streaming platforms are hungrier than ever for new stories, and the potential audience is bigger than ever. There is unprecedented technology to help you create anything you want and share it with the world.