VidCon is the place to be for those in the world of social video, and 75,000 turned out earlier this month to see and be seen. Here are three things the monster conference tells us about the industry.
#1: VidCon is expanding with the social video industry
July the 13th marked the 10th anniversary of the YouTube and multi-genre conference called VidCon in Los Angeles. It features prominent creators and industry experts, as well as swaths of their fans. Vidcon 2019, now owned by Viacom, had over 75,000 attendees. Not bad for a show that started in 2010 with less than 1,400 attendees.
Though the most prominent VidCon conference is in Los Angeles, new ones are blossoming worldwide. There is a VidCon London, a VidCon Australia, and soon to be Vidcon Mexico City. The expansion of the conference illustrates just how popular YouTube has become worldwide and how the influencers it has spawned are now international celebrities.
#2: TikTok is huge
A quick look back at the top bandwidth users of 2018 shows the incredible rise of the app Tik Tok. Some have likened it to the rise of the now-defunct Vine. Both services specialize in short-form video content shot from a mobile phone. Whether Tik Tok can overcome the problems that plagued Vine – ultimately leading to its closure – is unclear.
Despite the risks of relying on a new platform, many creators claimed they were “leaving” YouTube for Tik Tok. And who can blame them given the response some TikTok creators received at Vidcon. While elite YouTube stars were onstage at the show, some popular TikTok creators remained a part of the crowd, making them very approachable. However, once fans discovered them, mob scenes ensued. The ease with which the creators could collaborate (collab) also had an effect. A popular YouTuber, Philip DeFranco tweeted on Friday that:
Dude. These TikTok kids are going to replace half the youtubers that are at #Vidcon this year. While y’all are onstage they’ve already shot and posted 79 collab tiktoks each.
No shade. Just respecting the hustle.
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) July 12, 2019
Numerous news articles have popped up speculating that TikTok may “take over” YouTube. While that speculation may be overblown, it is certainly piquing everyone’s interest. As well, it does have several advantages for creators, the most obvious being its newness. New applications allow fresh creators to break through all the “noise” of established channels. The ease with which creators can collab and post content is also a plus. All anyone needs to collab or start producing content is a smartphone. The short nature of the videos also keeps users with short attention spans engaged.
While TikTok is not going to topple any social video giants anytime soon, its popularity is making waves in the industry.
#3: New Monetization options for YouTube
In a recent piece about Twitch, we highlighted the lack of monetization options available on YouTube. At VidCon, the social video giant announced it was expanding the monetization options for creators on the platform.
Before the VidCon announcement, the only monetization options within YouTube were ad revenue and a $4.99/month membership option which gives members access to exclusive videos. Ad revenue provides little if any income to most creators and the membership option offers little flexibility. Members have few perks and no way to allow users to spend more with them. To address the lack of monetization options, YouTube creators turned to other options such as Patreon. The service offers many more monetization options, including multiple levels of membership.
YouTube has co-opted Patreon’s approach and now offers multiple levels of membership. Each level comes with different perks depending on how much a user pays for membership.
Replicating Patreon’s offering is a step in the right direction for YouTube because many creators complain that it is harder than ever to rely on ad revenue. That said, how many of them will use the new options and see improved revenue generation from it remains to be seen.