Mike Ko Personal Portfolio


Home-School Education
Hong Kong

University of Durham
Bachelor of Science
United Kingdom

2017 - 2018
United Kingdom

    The Open Market for Self-made Media Content

        The Internet is certainly a place with many outlandish media content, but the ‘ASMR’ videos that have cropped up on YouTube may be some of the more peculiar ones. In a bid to trigger the “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response” tingling sensation in their audiences, various individuals make videos with sounds such as soothing whispers, tapping noises and the somewhat more questionable sucking of ear-shaped microphones. The concept may be scientifically unsupported and the acts sometimes suspiciously close to fetish gratification, but ASMR videos have a sufficient following to warrant the sizeable number of YouTube channels dedicated to these videos. Some of them have even set up payment methods for audiences to provide financial support the videos’ creators.

        This direct patronage to individuals for their self-made content is also found in many other genres, an example being gaming. There are many who now play and upload their video game-based content to various online platforms. Offering gameplay, tips and multiplayer sessions with subscribers, the people behind these channels can gather quite a following. For the efforts, they have a number of options to generate revenue from their work, enough for some of them to produce content full-time. One retired navy sailor earns enough in audience donations and ad revenues to create a decent supplement to his pension.

        It may be tempting to dismiss this system of self-made media content – be it videos, livestreams, blogs, gaming sessions and so on – as the weird corner of the Internet built by people who could not find a ‘real’ job. Yet the reality is that this model is becoming more popular and viable. Unlike typical media content, these content can be attractive due to their interactive and personalised nature. Creators often talk with their audiences through messages and can even respond to requests for specific content. Official methods for creators to get income for their work means these endeavours can become more than a hobby. Specific hosting platforms like YouTube and Twitch can partner with creators to establish advertisement- or donation-based revenue schemes. An alternative is to use a payment platform like PayPal or Patreon for audiences to make direct, one-off or subscription payments.

        Granted, this pseudo-profession is not exactly ubiquitous and is still difficult to build a livelihood out of. Its novel nature also means that certain hosting and payment platforms are still adjusting their relationship with content-creators. YouTube’s latest changes to its advertisement-placement algorithms have led to a precipitous drop in many videos’ advertisements, which meant a nosedive in the associated revenues for creators. With this so-called ‘adpocalypse’, some creators had to resort to alternatives like donations or crowdfunding to sustain their channels.

        Despite these challenges, it would seem that this new market and profession are here to stay. As long as there is a demand from audiences – which is quite probable given our upcoming tech-addicted generation, there will be potential business to be done from selling self-made and somewhat personalised content. With time, we could perhaps expect a mature free-for-all market to develop, where anyone can viably make and sell media content for an audience that is actively looking for them.

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