In a nutshell
- VidCon is one of the biggest — and most fun — video-related conventions in the world. More than 75,000 people attend each year.
- This event captures the spirit of the entire online creator community across all platforms and genres.
- It’s more than just a cool photo-op. VidCon brings the fans, creators, brands and industry executives together for a massive networking opportunity.
VidCon’s humble beginnings
Just a few years after the launch of YouTube, the first VidCon was hosted in 2010 in Los Angeles, California. VidCon is one of the biggest conventions for video content creators across all platforms and varieties. The founders, John and Hank Green, have been creators since the earliest days of YouTube. Their channel, Vlogbrothers (3.4 million subscribers) was established in 2007. It has nearly 900,000,000 views so far.
During the inaugural year, VidCon was attended by a mere 1,400 people. They were primarily content creators attending for the purpose of networking. Since then, it has morphed into an annual event that boasts around 75,000 attendees. The event has expanded to several other cities around the world. Locations include London, Singapore, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and Mexico City.
What’s so special about VidCon?
Many expos and conventions are industry events – meaning you’d need to be a validated member of the industry to attend. VidCon brings the fans, creators, brands and industry executives together. They make it a worthwhile experience for each group by incorporating a tiered ticket concept. This allows the event to cater to the focus of each level: Community Track, Creator Track and Industry Track.
Fans get to be in the mix with their favorite online creators and explore brands in the huge expo hall. Creators get to expand their audiences and connect with potential sponsors and brands. Brands of all sizes get to network with creators and gain exposure with the fanbase in memorable ways.
How cool are the celebrities?
You’ve probably seen the old clips of the swooning, shrieking Beatles fans as they ascended to the stage for concerts in the 1960s. Long before that, entourages swarmed glamorous movie stars on the silver screen. With so many options like television, internet, streaming and podcasts today, there are endless ways to see and be seen. When fans attend an event like VidCon, they have an opportunity to meet their idols in person. At the center of each noisy mob, you’ll find some of the biggest internet celebs. Camera crews busily capture every angle.
2017 may have been one of the wildest examples of crazed fandom gone rampant at VidCon. Logan Paul (22.6 million followers) had such a huge crowd of screaming teenagers following him around that it was impossible to miss. Elsewhere in the building, a self-proclaimed Instagram model berated a security guard with a rant of disparaging remarks and name-calling. Travel vlogger Louis Cole (1.1 million followers) stepped up. He encouraged his own followers to show their support for the security guard, Joseph Hernandez, by following Hernandez’s Instagram. Hernandez gained thousands of followers in just a few days. Louis also gained tons of respect from fans and colleagues. These types of havoc-inducing situations can be dangerous. It shows how strong celebrity magnetism can be at such an event, though.
Is it good business for creators?
Regardless of which platforms you’re on, which genre you create in or what your niche is, networking matters. Creators are becoming more strategic and more sophisticated. Attending events like VidCon could give you the extra edge you need. Whether you are a vlogger, gamer, producer or hobbyist, you have plenty to learn. You may discover new gear that will make your production easier. The people running a cool booth might be perfect collaborators for your next big plan. You might have a great encounter with another creator who tells their followers and your viewership gets a dramatic boost.
Obviously, creators attending conventions should try to capitalize on the chance to participate in special events. Getting involved with the Bonus Creator Appearance Zone — might be great publicity. Even simply walking around the expo hall with your camera rolling will catch people’s attention. With so many brands, execs and experts on-site, there is always a possibility of meeting a career-changing contact at VidCon.
So, what’s in store for the future?
Although VidCon’s 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VidCon leaned into the industry’s expertise. Over 150 online sessions were produced, and over a million viewers tuned in. It’s hard to predict whether the two-year hiatus has damaged VidCon’s relevance with the online creator community. However, the planners don’t seem concerned. They are ramping back up for in-person events in 2022 and beyond. TikTok is listed as the new title sponsor, and there are hundreds of creators confirmed to attend. Regardless of the attendance this year or the next, the producers promise to provide an epic event.