Published Date: Feb 2024


With increasing internet and smartphone penetration, South America has seen a boom in the creator economy over the past few years. More and more entrepreneurs are utilizing digital platforms to build businesses and monetize their skills, hobbies and passions. This article explores some of the major trends and opportunities emerging in the creator landscape across the region.

YouTube and Instagram Influencers

Some of the earliest and most visible creators to emerge in South America have been YouTube and Instagram influencers. With vibrant cultures and communities across countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Peru, there is high demand for locally produced content on these platforms. Entertainment, beauty, fashion and lifestyle influencers have amassed huge followings by creating videos and posts tailored specifically for South American audiences.

Many top influencers in the region now earn six figure incomes through brand sponsorships, affiliate marketing and launching their own product lines. Networks like Magnaproducer in Brazil help connect advertisers with influencers and manage sponsorships. As the creator economy matures, more formal brand deals and longer term partnerships are becoming common. Virtual and IRL meetups are also allowing influencers to monetize their followings through events, workshops and membership programs.

Online Courses and Educational Content

With a growing middle class and demand for skills training, online courses have become hugely popular. Platforms like Udemy, Coursera and Skillshare now have sizeable user bases in South America looking to learn new skills or further their education. Local creators are stepping up to fulfill this need by developing courses in a wide variety of topics - from programming and design to languages, business, wellness andmore.

Chilean entrepreneur Simón Brown, for example, has taught over 1.5 million students guitar on his YouTube channel ‘Simón Guitar’ and now also offers paid video courses. Argentine creator Ariel Saez launched his entrepreneurship program ‘Aprendé con Ariel’ on Udemy in 2018 and it now has over 50,000 enrolled students. As connectivity improves, the market for affordable, accessible online learning is primed for exponential growth.

Podcasting and Audio Entertainment

While still smaller than the global podcast industry, podcast creation and consumption is growing rapidly in South America. Popular genres include true crime, comedy, news/politics and spirituality shows. Spotify has staked a strong foothold in many countries and is actively signing exclusives with local podcast networks and individual creators.

Notably, Argentina is one of the top podcast listening nations globally according to recent surveys. Companies like Podcast Motor in Buenos Aires now employ dozens of hosts, producers and support staff to churn out both independent and sponsored podcast content across Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other aggregators. Partnerships with cell carriers bundling free data for streaming are helping drive further adoption.

E-Commerce and Platform-Powered Businesses

Fuelled by growing online shopping habits, e-commerce enabling platforms have unlocked a new generation of creators in South America focused on product development and retail. Sites like MercadoLibre, Shoping and AliExpress are providing tools for anyone to start online stores with just a few clicks. Creators are dropping ship items from Alibaba or having products locally manufactured in small volumes initially.

Successful stores often add a personal touch through blog posts, social media marketing and customer service. Brazilian siblings Gabriela and Letícia Teixeira combined their passion for plants with e-commerce by starting ‘Tropiplantas’ on Shoping in 2018. They now employ 5 people and turnover over $200k annually selling houseplants and plant care supplies across Brazil. As fulfillment and payment options proliferate, more everyday creators will tap into the shopping experience economy.

Livestreaming and Interactive Content

Live video platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have sparked new types of experiences blurring the boundary between passive consumption and real-time engagement. Creators in South America are pioneering interactive formats such as workout classes, cooking demonstrations, storytimes and even therapy sessions broadcast live.

Colombian therapist Diana Restrepo found viral popularity on Instagram by livestreaming sessions addressing issues like anxiety, relationships and self-esteem. She has since trained hundreds of other professionals and launched a membership program. Video games have also enabled hundreds of streamers across Latin America to monetize through ads, donations, sponsorships during marathons or showmatches streaming on Twitch and Mixer. Live commerce segments selling products featured on livestreams are another innovation driving commerce.

Overall, South America’s youthful demographics and improving infrastructure make the region ripe for creator-powered disruption and business model experimentation across a multitude of platforms and formats. Steadily democratizing tools, platforms focused on local needs and greater connectivity will likely multiply opportunities exponentially in the coming decade. With their vibrant cultures and communities, creators in South America have all the resources to establish a dominant global presence. The future remains bright for those who can harness their passion and skills on the digital stage.