The rise of influencer merchandise, brands hire creators for their video production skills, and more suspended affiliate programs

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Fanjoy

Welcome to this week’s Influencer Dashboard newsletter!

This is Amanda Perelli, writing to you from my desk at home, and here’s an update on what’s new in the business of influencers and creators.

This week, I wrote about the rise of Fanjoy, a merchandise business that dominates the influencer space and works with top creators like David Dobrik and Jake Paul.

I spoke to Chris Vaccarino, the founder and CEO of Fanjoy, and he said he started the company by selling T-shirts for his brother’s band in 2014.

Around 2017, Fanjoy pivoted its business model to selling T-shirts and sweatshirts for digital creators, and the company began to build its presence in the influencer space.

For some YouTube creators, especially those who are not advertiser friendly, merch has become a main source of income.

“It’s a big draw, even for talent who hasn’t sold anything before,” Vaccarino said. “If we can get them plugged into our ecosystem and database it’ll help sell more product for them and help them get up and running a lot faster.”

Fanjoy has an in-house design team that will sit with clients to brainstorm collection ideas, Vaccarino said. They plan collections around six months in advance, and with Dobrik they’ve released other products like a necklace for Valentine’s Day and a disposable camera in a limited stock as a way to test out what the fans will buy. Read the full story inside Fanjoy, here.

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Twitch is setting viewership records and proving its dominance as the top streaming platform, but it faces an uphill battle to increase advertising revenue

Twitch homepage laptop computer

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Casimiro PT/Shutterstock

As some traditional media and advertising have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, viewers have turned to livestreaming platform Twitch for entertainment.

My colleague Kevin Webb wrote an analysis on Twitch’s viewership boom during the first quarter of 2020.

Twitch has a fresh opportunity to prove its value to advertisers. The pandemic has companies rearranging their campaigns and spending for 2020 and viewers are turning to Twitch at a faster rate than ever.

Twitch’s viewership increased by about 23% during March, as many regions impacted by the coronavirus adopted shelter-in-place and social-distancing policies, according to data from streaming-software firm Streamlabs. The increase in hours watched should be a boon for Twitch.

But an overall downturn in ad spending due to the coronavirus could make it difficult for Twitch to capitalize on the viewership surge, Kevin writes.

Read more on viewership and changes in ad revenue, here.

Some brands are hiring influencers as a ‘one-stop shop’ for video and animation as production studios shut down – and finding they’re a lot cheaper

Alexandria Ramon, Instagram influencer

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Alexandria Ramon

As creative agencies and production studios close their doors in order to shelter-in-place, some brands have begun turning to influencers for their content creation skills.

My colleague Dan Whateley wrote about how influencer agencies are hiring digital creators for their photography and production skills rather than their “influence” on social media.

Caleb Natale, a digital creator focused on visual effects and animation, said during the coronavirus outbreak he’s been able to continue producing content from home. While Natale usually earns revenue by promoting brands on sponsored posts to his roughly 700,000 followers on TikTok, he also can make money producing videos that he doesn’t appear in.

Digital creators can prove to be cheaper than production companies, with some charging half the price to produce professional photos and videos for brands.

Read more on brands hiring influencers for video production, here.

Walmart has suspended its affiliate programs with some top influencer platforms, cutting off a growing source of income for some digital creators

As influencer-marketing campaigns get put on hold, affiliate revenue has become a growing source of income for some digital creators. But that could be threatened if retailers cut their programs.

I reported on Walmart suspending its influencer affiliate programs with the top e-commerce platforms MagicLinks and Rakuten.

Influencers who use these affiliate programs earn a commission from a sale through a special link provided by the platform, which leads to a third-party online store.

Read more on brands suspending influencer affiliate programs, here.

What else happened this week on BI Prime:

Creator Spotlight: Sonia Castaneda

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Sonia Castaneda

Sonia Castaneda is a YouTube vlogger and beauty influencer with 428,000 subscribers.

Castaneda is a single mother, and she is currently quarantined at home in California with her son. Her videos feature her son Jude, makeup tutorials, and her everyday life.

“There has been a slowdown with work, and as far as YouTube goes, brand partnerships which is my main source of income,” she said. “But I have to find other ways to make income along with that.”

To earn extra income during this time, she has been creating T-shirts and sweatshirts with sayings like, “Quarantine Homeschool Teacher Class of 2020,” which she designed with her sister. She has been selling them on Etsy and on the social commerce marketplace Poshmark, where she has over 50,000 followers.

“It’s gone way better than I initially anticipated,” she said. “I’m just thinking of more items I can sell and really maximize my reach in this moment to keep me busy and have income coming in.”

She made around $340 in her first day of selling, and around $720 the first week, she said. It took her around five hours for the first stock, which included creating the products and taking photos of them. She listed 70 items in her fist order and included handwritten thank you cards.

She’s also been vlogging on YouTube and sharing tips on how to start a side hustle at home. Check out her YouTube channel here.

Here’s what else we’re reading:

Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: aperelli@businessinsider.com.

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