To gain a better understanding of content creation, and where this industry is headed, we sat down with Shlomi Ben Atar, CMO at VFR.ai.
How did you get started in the world of content creation?
I always liked content creation. When I was 21 I studied acting and improvisation. I have also been a hardcore gamer since the age of 8.
I founded a startup called Moojis in 2015 that created emojis based on the faces of the users. During that time, I heard from other CEOs that the gaming industry was booming. I thought to myself “People earn money from games?!”
My first marketing campaign was with YouTubers when my startup wasn’t that popular yet, and that’s how I brought Moojis to number one on various app stores.
I hosted an e-sports league and the producer there approached me with an idea to open a gaming YouTube channel. We partnered up, and the rest is history. Now I have 114k subscribers, a podcast, several TV shows, and I am creating CTV video channels and games with VFR.
How do you see the future of content creation? Any new trends we can expect to see emerge?
First, I feel that audiences today love authentic content. That’s why YouTube and TikTok, for example, are getting what would be mainstream TV viewership.
Second, speaking of TV, streaming services like Netflix and Disney are going to have to learn how to create cheaper content, while keeping the audience’s interest.
While people are still signing up for streaming services, the stocks are falling for these companies. Content production is super expensive and the subscription models aren’t showing enough earnings. These companies invest a lot of money in content because of the competition—Netflix doesn’t control the market alone as it used to. Furthermore, the falling economy means that people are starting to cut down on their expenses, so streaming companies are having to roll out cheaper, ad- supported models.
This results in more ads around content. It’s good for us, bad for them.
A third trend to look out for will be AI content generation. I’ve been playing around with it lately, and it is amazing what AI tools can do today, and this is just the start. I believe that AI will reduce the gap between low-budget content creators and big productions – and then the real content competition will begin.
Can you tell us a bit about VFR and your current role in the company?
VFR creates content for connected TV platforms (Roku, Amazon Fire TV), and because we don’t want our ads to interfere with the users’ experience, we created a non-intrusive ad player for monetization.
We began by creating casual and hyper-casual games, but quickly saw the potential of creating other content. For example, we created a channel for e-books for children, called “Little Stories”.
We also saw the potential of working with content creators and creating a TV channel for their content, essentially giving them another revenue stream.
My current role at the company is CMO, and I am really enjoying the challenge of getting to CTV viewers. CTV is a relatively new space for creators, publishers, and marketers. I love taking part in the content creation, being a part of the creative behind the advertisements.
What is the role of VFR in the future of content creation?
VFR can help creators understand the world of connected TV, and create a Roku or Amazon channel for them, based on their brand. We can also create content for DTC brands that want representation on CTV.
I feel that TV will stay the center of the house, even more now that cinema is not as popular as it used to be. VFR can be the link that connects brands, publishers, and creators to this main entertainment screen called TV.
Why did you choose to promote VFR content on the Roku CTV platform specifically?
I always liked the respect that people give to this medium called TV. I think it’s a totally different approach than mobile. The screen real-estate is huge and all of a sudden the gap is not that big for creating TV content. It used to be only big productions, but now we’ve got games and YouTube-style content as well.
Roku specifically, has 64 million monthly active users in the US alone – I think the potential here is enormous. The development is pretty comfortable, and the market is young, so it’s a big opportunity.
What foreseeable strategies do you think will be effective in making content less intrusive and more value-adding to CTV consumers?
I think that platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch can teach us exactly what people like or don’t like. We can take that data and translate it quickly into CTV content without the overhead of a big production. Traditional TV production takes a long time and a lot of money to produce. Creating simpler content will be the way to go, or taking web content and inputting it directly into a CTV channel.
By doing this, consumers will get eye-level content on their screens, advertisers will have the chance to show their brand in a less intrusive way, and casual gamers can sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy a simple game of bingo at the end of their day. Parents can even take a break, with e-books readily available as a replacement for their children’s bedtime stories.