VidCon is the premiere place for everything online video, and this year came with exciting announcements from a number of the internet’s top companies and platforms. With a star-studded list of influencers and more than 30,000 attendees, VidCon is the perfect place for brands to make their presence, products, and services known.
VidCon was originally conceived in 2010 as a niche event connecting early YouTuber stars with their fans in real life. Fast forward to today, online video dominates the media and VidCon has grown tremendously in attendance and significance — now all of the major social platforms and brands are represented. As influencer marketing and online video advertising continue to flourish, industry professionals also attend the conference to network and hear the latest announcements.
Below, we highlight the biggest announcements from VidCon 2018.
Just before this year’s official VidCon kick off, Instagram announced their new mobile-focused video service, IGTV. Supporting vertical videos up to one-hour in length, IGTV puts Instagram in direct competition with YouTube’s successful, longform, creator-driven video business.
In an official Instagram post, CEO Kevin Systrom, offered the following insights into the service:
At the outset, Instagram won’t be serving ads against IGTV content, but some form of monetization is promised down the line. Later in the day at VidCon, Instagram exec, Jackson Williams, said that the ability for creators to monetize their channels would be available by the end of 2019.
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Earlier this year, YouTube experienced a backlash from creators around a policy that demonetized certain videos and channels, Speaking directly to the uproar, YouTube’s VidCon keynote focused on new ways for creators to earn money through the platform. These fresh monetization means, which include Channel Memberships, Merchandise Sales, and Premieres, don’t appear to be trivial offerings aimed at placating creators but, rather, deep and meaningful changes that could help generate new revenue streams, as well as better connect channels and their communities.
Channel Memberships—Available to channels with 100,000 subscribers or more, YouTube’s new membership offerings give viewers exclusive channel perks for a fee of $4.99 per month. Unlike Subscribers, Channel Members will be granted extras, such as unique badges, members-only posts, and other custom bonuses determined by the creators themselves. Already being tested by select YouTube channels, some creators have reported significant increases in revenue, while others have bragged about the feature’s ability to enhance community-building.
Merchandise Sales—Once a channel has a bevy of loyal subscribers, creators often look to supplement their income through merchandising. To make this intimidating endeavor a bit simpler, YouTube has partnered with Teespring to help creators design, manufacture, and manage their own private-label goods. Offering up to 20 different products — ranging from clothing to mugs to phone cases — Teespring is now directly integrated into a channel’s CMS. Available to U.S. channels with more than 10,000 subscribers, the feature could have big implications for some creators. In a recent limited-time offer, Teespring’s presale of the Lucas the Spider plushie reportedly generated $1.2 million for creator Joshua Slice.
Premieres—YouTube Premieres allow previously recorded video to appear inside of a livestream capsule. Taking a page out of linear broadcasting’s “appointment TV,” Premieres give creators the power to attract and aggregate audiences around viewing events. Like YouTube’s normal livestreams, these events come equipped with interactive features that allow viewers to comment and communicate, as well as contribute directly to the channel by purchasing Super Chats.
At this year’s event, VidCon co-founder Hank Green announced the organization’s new Creator Grant Program. Doling out a whopping $104,000 through 52 weekly $2000 grants, VidCon is looking to help creators realize their creative visions.
As reported by TubeFilter, Green stated, “There are so many independent creators making amazing stuff who might just need that little boost, whether it’s the money, or a bit of recognition. The entire VidCon team is hoping that this program will help creators who are making content for underserved audiences, building strong communities, educating people, or just making them smile.”
The VidCon Creator Grant Program was developed to assist smaller creators who meet certain eligibility criteria. Recipients will be selected by a committee instituted within VidCon and grants can be used at a winner’s discretion.
Just prior to VidCon, Facebook announced a variety of new features aimed at the creator community.
Watch—Previously relegated to premium video content, the world’s largest social network is opening up their Watch platform to videos from other Pages. However, Facebook’s recent announcement came with a vague mention of eligibility requirements, and didn’t offer details on monetization opportunities.
Brand Collabs Manager—Designed to help both companies and creators, Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager is an attempt to enhance discoverability and facilitate influencer marketing partnerships. Currently limited to certain U.S. companies and creators, the new search function gives brands the power to find and filter talent through interests, demographics, and audience size.
Creator App—Previously only available on iOS, the app that allows Facebook creators to record video, go live, and connect with their fans, will now be available on Android.
Facebook for Creators Launchpad—The application-only, limited program is aimed at cultivating long form content on Facebook. Through Launchpad, Facebook is looking to help eligible creators connect to larger audiences, as well as give them opportunities to generate revenue through Ad Breaks.