4 minutes estimated reading time
Ambient content is the name that I gave to a peculiar type of video content that has been rising in popularity over time at odds with online media. It’s at odds with the direction of online content in general and technological convergence.
Yes we’re in the middle of a metaverse winter at the moment as western platform companies have reduced or withdrawn spending on it. But gaming seems to be as healthy as ever. There is a lean forward bias to online media with the exception of streaming services.
The ambient content by these ‘influencers looks as if it is taking things in a very different direction:
- Its not particularly commercial
- Its not ‘role model’ material a la Steve Barrett, Zoe Sugg or even Andrew Tate
- There is no ‘personal brand’
- There is a unforced ‘hygge’ feel to the content
- It’s oddly relaxing to watch
- It’s lean back content, there is no call to action or actively engage
What does ambient content look like?
Here’s examples from the couple of accounts that I have noticed.
@nushitoneko is a divorced lady living alone with two cats in Japan and apparently holding down two jobs. Her simple cooking that relies on a lot on frozen ingredients looks lovely. She also captures the occasional McDonalds meals and Starbucks take-out in her films. If you are in Japan, you can buy products that she uses in her everyday life from her ‘Rakuten ROOM‘ which is a bit like an Amazon affiliate marketing page.
@Choki is more design led. The Instagram account feels like a bit of personal art direction is in place. She shares her home with a rabbit and a cat. @Choki looks as if she might be about to launch some sort of e-commerce venture. She is in her late 20s or early 30s and focuses on unwinding from stress in her content.
@usakostyle is a Japanese national living alone. Like @Choki is has a focus on interior design in her content. While there isn’t animal content in her videos that cute influence comes in from her love of Studio Ghibli animation and this can be seen in some of the detail nature shots she puts in her films, which feel like the background detail in Ghibli movies. She has a Rakuten affiliate marketing page.
@LouCslife is a Filipino lady who has a corporate job working in Japan. I think that she is the youngest of the trio. Her content focuses more on cleaning and tidying up than on cooking. She has a small apartment that she keeps immaculate. She appears in her thumbnails of her videos, but its hard to know what she really looks like. She also is differentiated by her lack of pets and doesn’t even have an affiliate marketing page like @nushitoneko.
This isn’t only a ‘made in Japan’ phenomenon, but also in Korea as well.
@MariLife is a Korean housewife living in South Korea that shoots similar content, but does it on solo camping trips using the family MPV as her base camp. The style of the videos feel very similar to the Japanese created ambient content. @MariLife’s content is very polished and she has explain that all the footage including the drone footage is shot by herself.
Common aspects of ambient content
Common aspects of ambient content includes:
- Relaxing soundtrack
- Small moments of everyday life, but as long form content
- It’s not educational in nature, but they might inspire you to try your hand at cooking once you’ve watched cooking channels
- 30+ years old content creator
- The idea that (with the exception of pets) its ok to be your own company. They might be alone, but they don’t feel lonely
- Non-aspirational in nature. The content creators cooking skills and presentation is very good, but managed within a constrained budget. For instance @nushitoneko buys outfits sparingly from Shein and while she used a tablet for drawing as part of her online marketing job, when eight year old iPad died on her she moved to working on her phone and hasn’t replaced it yet. There are no product pitches or programme sponsors in the content. Instead it is about the small pleasures in the now, the simple satisfaction of a frozen pizza and drinking coffee while watching an anime or reading a book
- No over-monetisation of content. For instance, @nushitoneko and usakostyle both have an affiliate page on Rakuten where you can buy some of the products that they have in their respective kitchens such as an electric sandwich maker
- Greater degree of anonymity enjoyed by the content creators
I think that there content says a good deal about our stressed lives and seems to tie in with some of the things driving the audience desire for de-influence trend amongst TikTokers to be real.