Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Missing Link: Final Thoughts on Vidcon 2012

Recently, I attended Vidcon, a conference of YouTubers held this year at the Anaheim Convention Center.   This was the third annual conference, growing from a total registration of just 1,400 in 2010, to advance registration of 7,200 this year.  In 2010, the main events were held in a ballroom at the Century Plaza Hotel.  This year, they were held in a sports arena.  There's no greater indication of the explosive growth of the personal online video world than this singular event, which brings together vloggers of all ages, along with their fans.

Vidcon wasn't perfect. This is, after all, a young industry - still testing its influence and developing pathways to success.  YouTube (and its smaller cousins) are both artistic and entrepreneurial playgrounds.

Just as important is the sense of community - something that's completely missed by most casual visitors to YouTube.  Friendships and collaborations are the heart and soul of this world.  I'm still somewhat fascinated with the reality that so many have no idea of this world.  Even new YouTubers express surprise at the extent of "Community."

Vidcon is both a community and professional development event, but was a bit surprising in the obvious lack of interest from vendors of professional video equipment - camera, lighting, softeware vendors, and more whose presence would have both benefited YouTubers wanting to "up their game" and the vendors themselves.  The reasons why these vendors are missing may be twofold - they don't know the huge potential of serving this audience, and/or the community (and perhaps the Vidcon sales people) need to do a better job of outreach to these vendors.  I'd like to see a "tech alley" in the vendor area, providing a one-stop-shop where YouTubers can learn, enhance and improve the technical quality of their videos.

In summary, my top ten observations about Vidcon:
  1. The growth of online video is dramatic; attendance at the 2010 Vidcon was 1400, attendance at this year's Vidcon is estimated at 7,200 - this year, keynotes were held in an arena
  2. This is still very much a YouTube world - source of over 50% of all online video viewed
  3. Optimism and excitement is palpable
  4. Like any entertainment industry, dreams and expectations are huge
  5. There's a great deal of imitation and hero worship amongst many YouTubers
  6. The most successful YouTubers are Entreprenuers - not only creating product, but promoting, collaborating, strategizing and finding branding partnerships.
  7. This is not a geographically centered industry; YouTubers of all levels come from all corners Of the world
  8. There is still a struggle to define just what "this" is; online video is a tool of communication as well as entertainment - sometimes, simultaneously
  9. The vending area, with just a few exception, shows how little the "professional" production industry (I.e. rental and sales video equipment companies) value this world - no camera vendor, for example, was in attendance.
  10. This will rival comic-con within a few years - with one important exception. This is primarily a gathering of creators, other than simple fans ( though there are plent of those as well
Check out my Vlog on this subject:


  1. I've already commented on the video regarding the vendors, or lack thereof. What I didn't really catch before was just how large VidCon has gotten. When I saw the video, I remember you saying it was in an arena, but seeing the numbers here in print really struck me. And interesting comparison to ComicCon, where it's mostly fans, versus mostly creators. Very interesting!

  2. From what I've heard, YouTube are going to become more "TV" orientated. Partnering with the media of television etc on a much bigger scale as it gives the big companies and the Music Industry more creative freedom at a much lower cost. Maybe the vendors were not invited this year, due to a different kind of future for the site :( Many smaller channels have been removed for different reasons & as we know so much of the Community have found other outlets to communicate.So many inspiring and talented people, who have taken to posting their thoughts on sites like facebook. I miss the connection on Youtube. I will start posting again but I do miss that special interaction, that came with constantly new format changes on the site. I think people find it easier to just log on facebook etc, where they can say hi to their friends live, as we once did on YouTube. Great video, thanks for sharing :)