YouTube has released its Culture and Trends report for 2024, and this year’s report focused on fans and ‘fandom’. Specifically looking at how fans have pivoted from being content consumers to creators themselves.

Traditionally, fans would absorb the content around the person or object they are a fan of, now they are developing niche communities through their content. But what does this content look like?

Well, it can look like a lot of different things. It can consist of fancams that go viral on TikTok, it could just be a meme page, or it can evolve into hour-long video essays that dedicated fans consume. Regardless of how the content manifests, all are created and absorbed as a way to connect more with the object of their fandom and the community surrounding it.

This development within fandoms has subsequently led to a boom of creators in very niche markets. Being a fan of what you’re creating content about, means you know exactly what other fans want.

YouTube said fans who become content creators, “are experts in how to foster fandom online because, as fans, they know what fans want, and as creators, they know how to use the technology and platforms available to them.”

Often, one piece of content from the object of the fandom, can lead to a ripple effect of content creation. YouTube’s report cites the release of the Grand Theft Auto VI trailer. The trailer itself amassed 93 million views in 24 hours, but beyond that, fan-created content surrounding the trailer (breakdowns, analysis, reactions), “accumulated over 192 million views in the same 24-hour time period.”

YouTube’s report also discussed how brands can capitalise on these niche fandoms. Creator Ally Sheehan, who creates content on Taylor Swift and her music, recently partnered with Loop Earplugs for an ‘Essential Tips for the Eras Tour’ video. It was a relevant brand partnership that made sense for Sheehan, her followers, and the wider Taylor Swift fandom.

This boom in fan-driven content has resulted in 65% of Gen Z considering themselves to be “creators”, and 8% of Gen Z describing themselves as “professional fans who earn money from their creation”, according to YouTube.

This latest culture and trends report just goes to show how powerful niche content creation can be, as well as the possibilities it opens up for brand partnerships.

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