VidCon 2017 didn't disappoint -- 36,000 people attended the eighth annual "running of the teens" over the fest's four days of activities in Anaheim, CA. Brought to life by Vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green (yes, that John Green) wanted to provide Internet video lovers a place to meet each other IRL. The event has transformed into a melting pot of attendees. Internet-famous personalities walk the convention floor alongside their fans, vloggers, industry pros, and the unsuspecting talents that will go viral by this time next year.
There are countless engagement opportunities for fans, including creator panels, performances, meet and greets, screenings, and brand activations. As the Green Brothers put it,
“Entire genres are created in the time it takes a full season of TV to meander its way to conclusion. Creating an event for something so wildly diverse and rapidly evolving is an impossible task, but we attempt it anyway. And we do it with excitement, because we believe that online video is the most important cultural force since the motion picture. We are in the very early, defining moments of an extremely powerful global force. VidCon is and strives to continue to be the physical center of that revolution.”
Photo courtesy: @_stile Instagram
Brands such as YouTube, Delta, Mars, Twitter, Hasbro, Canon, Disney, and Mattel sponsored the 2017 event, which added an additional day of booth activations as well as an off-site experience at Disneyland on Sunday (entrance fee not included). Brands handed out free samples and strived to turn consumerism into unique yet digitally savvy experiences that teens in attendance could both enjoy live and brag about online later. Pop2Life and Genius Kitchen partnered to create the Donute Creation Station in which attendees raced to create and customize their perfect donut, show it off on Instagram, then devour their creation on the convention floor.
Title sponsor, YouTube, proved that it isn't going anywhere. In fact, the video sharing site used their platform to unveil some aggressive content strategies (and impressive stats) for the rest of 2017:
- YouTube has 1.5 billion global users logging in each month
- Those users spend an average of one hour per day on the platform
- Live streaming platform, YouTube TV, is expanding to 10 additional markets: Washington, D.C.; Phoenix; Detroit; Atlanta; Houston; Dallas-Fort Worth; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Miami-Fort Lauderdale; Charlotte; and Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
- YouTube Red is adding 12 more original shows and movies this year, bringing the grand total of original programming up to 52
- 70% of YouTube views are now coming from mobile devices
- With a view toward making virtual reality more accessible and affordable, YouTube revealed a new video format called VR180. Designed in conjunction with Google’s VR team, Daydream, VR180 promises to deliver immersive 3D video to users
Photo courtesy: @heyitstanya Instagram
While VidCon is Mecca for YouTube stars, Facebook and Snapchat increased their presence on the floor this year. Snapchat sponsored a ball pit in their signature yellow and gave out free bottles of lemonade in a space meant to be, as the kids say, "snapped." Snap (finally) had some positive news to share, announcing that Time Warner will be investing $100 million in ads and content on the platform.
Facebook-owned Instagram had a seemingly competing space featuring mirrored booths with hanging white swings. Kevin Systrom, Instagram founder and CEO, hosted a creator's lounge and unveiled VidCon-themed masks in the Instagram Stories app. Facebook is really pushing their video services, which Mark Zuckerberg called "a mega trend, on the same order of mobile" while also investing in original shows with professional content creators.
Last year, 96 percent of consumers 25 and younger consumed content from digital sources -- spending a quarter of their online time watching digital celebrities, another quarter on people they don’t know, and 15 percent looking at videos from friends and family, according to the same DEFY Media report. In the beginning, the only brands that acknowledged and attended the event where those already involved in the online video industry. Now, non-video brands are paying attention to the statistics and learning that it's an effective platform to connect with the damn near impenetrable teen and tween demographics.
Brands are aligning themselves with the teen market through social influencers and once-in-a-lifetime experiences based on what’s hip, hot, and new in the teen world, creating an authenticity that manages to avoid being both annoying and creepy.
Photo courtesy: @theconsciousink Instagram
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