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65% of Gen Z Describe Themselves as Video Content Creators, YouTube's Report Says

Photo by Onur Binay / Unsplash

Content creation is now easier and more accessible than ever, so it's not surprising the shift from content consumption to creation moves rather swiftly. YouTube's latest Culture & Trends Report for 2024 proves this shift and reveals a bit more of how fans interact with their favourite media. According to the report, 65% of Gen Zers now identify as video content creators. Clearly a departure from traditional passive consumption, with fans actively participating in content creation, right?

The report, based on extensive research conducted by the YouTube Culture & Trends team in collaboration with the Fandom Institute and SmithGeiger, reveals that fans are not merely watching but producing a diverse array of content as well, which includes everything—from reaction videos and costume recreations to deep dives and commentary. Sometimes viewers even spend more time with fan content than the actual original source material, as per the report.

One notable example of this trend is the immense volume of content generated around RuPaul’s Drag Race. During the airing of its 16th season in 2024, YouTube creators uploaded 1,500 hours of related content. Similarly, the debut of the TV adaptation of the Fallout video game series spurred a surge in both views and uploads, as fans produced content ranging from videogame walkthroughs to lore explainers.

The report says that 80% of fans use YouTube to consume content related to their fandoms at least once a week and 57% of all respondents reported watching videos created by fans of specific content, artists, or public figures over the past year.

Creators are harnessing new technologies and platforms like YouTube Shorts and generative AI (obviously) to lower the barriers to content creation. This democratisation has enabled even casual fans to become creators. As a result, viewers often find themselves spending more time engaging with fan-made content than the original material. The report reveals that 66% of Gen Z agree they frequently watch more content that discusses or unpacks something than the thing itself.

And this content democratisation doesn't go unnoticed for original creators, either. For instance, a YouTuber Scott Frenzel, who used Shorts to strengthen his bond with fans by promising to comment on every fan-made video using his track, saw his song rise to the top of the Shorts chart, with fans putting it in a variety of creative ways, from nail art tutorials to food challenges.