UTA Study Finds $18 Billion+ Opportunity as The Creator Economy Ushers In A New Era In Brand and Consumer Engagement

40% of U.S. Consumers Ages 13-54 – 65 Million People – Have Paid Creators Directly and 61% Say They Would

Insights from UTA Marketing’s Creator Economy track at Advertising Week NY 

UTA, the leading global talent, entertainment, and sports agency, is unveiling its findings to “Creators & The New Frontier of Consumer Engagement, Presented by UTA,” a new study which projects an enormous opportunity for both talent and brands to engage with consumers in the new Creator Economy. The study explores current and future consumer participation in this fast-growing marketplace for “direct-to-fan” interaction.

Among the key findings is that 40% of more than 1,000 respondents surveyed already are paying creators directly, whether through fan clubs, video shout-outs, virtual meet-and-greets and more. This translates to 65 million people, an especially significant number given that most creators, celebrities, and influencers are not yet participating actively in the space. 

Moreover, nearly half (49%) of those who’ve paid for Creator Economy services are spending at least $25 a month to do so. This suggests a market scale of nearly $10 billion, an amount that is tracking to more than $18 billion, according to the UTA study. 

Within this dynamic market, the study reveals there’s a clear opportunity for brands to leverage the Creator Economy, whether by partnering with talent on exclusive content, special merchandise, unique experiences and more. In fact, 95% of respondents say they are open to brands participating in the Creator Economy. 

“Increasingly, Gen Z and Millennials live beyond the reach of traditional advertising,” said Joe Kessler, Global Head of UTA IQ. “Since they comprise the bulk of Creator Economy consumers, it follows that brands seeking to engage them more effectively should look to the emerging channels that bring these young fans closer to their favorite talent as avenues for meaningful engagement.”

“Brands have an immediate opportunity to be early adopters in this space,” says Julian Jacobs, co-head of UTA Marketing. “The relationship between creator and fan is becoming more powerful and intimate, and brands have a tremendous opportunity to tap into this dynamic in new and authentic ways - and there’s real ROI for those who do so, as our study found.”


Among the key insights:  

Current State of the Creator Economy

  • 40% of U.S. consumers -- 65 million people -- have directly paid creators for content, products, and/or experiences.
  • 49% of current supporters spend at least $25 a month directly on creators, translating to a minimum market size of $9.8 billion.
  • 63% of participants pay for content from multiple creators; musicians and gamers are the top two types of talent they support.
  • Consumers’ reasons for directly paying creators: 
    • Exclusivity: 71%
    • Inspiration: 69%
    • Access: 66%
    • Community 51% 


The Influential Creator Economy Supporters

  • 72% of consumers who directly support creators are Gen Z or Millennials ages 13-40. 
  • Supporters are evenly split across gender: 51% are male and 48% are female. 


Brand Opportunities in the Creator Economy

  • 95% of consumers are open to brands participating in the creator economy.
  • Compared to free content from creators, 76% of consumers find paid content more engaging and enticing and 59% are more likely to talk about it in-person and/or online. 
  • Brand engagement in the creator economy can boost consumers’ opinion of and likelihood to use brands: 
  • 1 in 2 are more likely to remember brands 
  • 1 in 2 feel more favorably towards those brands
  • 1 in 3 are more likely to purchase/use those brands 


The Opportunity and Projected Market Size

  • 61% of U.S. consumers are interested in directly paying creators, which translates to more than 104 million consumers - a 160% increase from current supporters.
  • 58% are willing to spend at least $25 a month directly on creators, up from 49% who spend at least this much currently. This translates to a 184% increase in revenue from the current market size of at least $9.8 billion to a projected market of at least $18 billion.


Methodology: The survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,000+ U.S. adults ages 13-54 from September 17-21, 2021. 

“Creators & The New Frontier of Consumer Engagement, Presented by UTA” was a collaboration between UTA Marketing, the brand consultancy division at UTA, and UTA IQ, the agency’s research, analytics, and digital strategy group.


About UTA

Leading global talent, entertainment, and sports company UTA represents many of the most acclaimed figures across film, television, news, music, sports, speakers, theater, fine art, literature, video games, podcasts and other social and digital content. A passionate advocate for artists, creators and innovators, the company also is recognized in the areas of film finance and packaging, branding, licensing and endorsements. UTA is known for its dedicated digital media group helping clients—from A-list talent to Fortune 500 companies—capitalize on a rapidly changing entertainment, media and business landscape. The agency's worldwide presence includes its Los Angeles headquarters and offices in New York, London, Nashville, and Atlanta. Information about UTA can also be found by following the company on social media on InstagramTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.


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