7 VidCon takeaways you haven’t heard

(2 min read) Useful insights from my green room, cocktail, and late-night conversations at VidCon

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We’re keeping it tight this week, as I was on the go at VidCon, taking notes between coffee chats, cocktails, and backroom convos at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Me doing “business”

I moderated three (3) panels, hosted a VIP Creator Party, met with Creator Logic readers, closed a six-figure consulting deal, and filmed with my friend Justin Moore

It was a productive (and lucrative!) week, and I picked up some interesting intel from Creators, executives, and founders at VidCon. 

Let’s get into it!

AI

There was very little conversation about AI. It seems like it’s not playing a core role in most Creators’ businesses…yet?

International

Top Creators continue to invest in human voiceover for alternate language dubs, and it seems to be paying off for some. I met a company servicing Creators in this area who told me the Spanish dub of a client’s channel was getting more views than their core English-language channel. Companies like theirs have sprung out of MrBeast’s very public internationalization strategy.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t yet heard of this sort of success for AI dubs…which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not happening.

TikTok Ban

:: Puts political hat on ::

What’s going to happen is anyone’s guess. Lots of postulating by talking heads who don’t actually have a clue, and I won’t bore you with that.

However, Creators making under $500 a month are the backbone of the Creator Economy, making up 51% of all Creators. These are the humans who would be most harmed by a TikTok ban, as that extra cash on top of a low-paying day job is sometimes the difference between paying for groceries and not making rent.

Younger generations have a lot of pent up anger about wage stagnation, inflation, the cost of housing, etc. and blowing up a source of income could push them (us) over the edge. Politicians should pay attention.

:: Takes political hat off ::

Content Financing

I met Creators making premium content that looks as good as a Netflix show for just $3,000 per minute. That might sound like a lot, but consider that Netflix shows average $50,000-$100,000 per minute.

These Creators are on the vanguard of a movement: Creators are starting to develop shows by releasing short-form videos, and then investing in the formats that pop. 

This speaks to a larger trend I’m seeing: as Hollywood content budgets tighten and there’s less appetite for risk, Creators will no longer be able to rely on platform or studio financing sources to produce new, higher-production-value content.

For example, in 2020 when I partnered with Loey Lane and Snitchery to develop the Internet Urban Legends podcast, Spotify was there to fund the production.

The current generation of Creators don’t have this benefit - they will have to invest their own money to get their grand visions off the ground. Fortunately, short-form video makes it cheaper and easier than ever to establish demand and de-risk a creative concept.

TikTok Shop

Creators are making 💰️ on TikTok Shop, but the dynamics are different than “traditional” affiliate selling.

Success on an affiliate platform like LTK is usually dependent on community passion: a Creator builds a community that trusts them and curates products that the community purchases (as seen with past guest Anna Daly, who I also got to meet last week).

TikTok Shop sellers, on the other hand, don’t need a trusted community. Instead, they have a different asset - the ability to speak about products in the precise way that drives sales. They are natural sellers, and TikTok Shop is the new, democratized version of QVC. 

Stormi Steele is the best example of this - she has just 388,600 followers on TikTok but sold over $1M worth of product in a single 8-hour livestream on TikTok Shop. If you can sell, you don’t need 1M followers to make six figures - and that goes for both live and short-form video.

You might be thinking, “This makes sense for Live shopping, but what about regular short-form video?”

If your videos move product on TikTok Shop, they will perform better on the For You page.

Take my word for it.

Shift from Personality to Format

We’re coming out of a personality-driven era and moving into a format-driven era - the MrBeastification of YouTube. In a few years, the cream will rise and those will be acquirable assets. 

Creators are the new Buzzfeeds and Complex Medias of the world, incubating the mass-market media properties of the future. The next Hot Ones will be funded and produced entirely by a Creator.

Just like TV shows eventually end, Creators have to consider that there is a lifespan for their work and plan accordingly. 

YouTube Megacreator at the invite-only Leadership Summit (paraphrased)

This perspective, developed as the Creator Economy has matured, might be part of the shift to format-driven content…personality-driven content can’t be sold due to the “key person risk” of the audience watching purely for love of the host. If the host retires, the audience disappears.

The Future of VidCon

VidCon is hurting right now. I personally felt great energy there and got a ton of business done, but the rooms were definitely more empty than in the past. At least 10 people said to me that it felt less lively with fewer attendees, fewer industry folks, and fewer sponsors/exhibitors. 

Paramount is selling VidCon and if I had the money, I’d buy it myself. I hope whoever does buy it is able to give it the love it deserves and bring the vitality back to what has always been the best community gathering in the Creator Economy. 

Me with Creators Jerry Won, Amanda Rose, and Tiffany Yu after our panel

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Written by Avi Gandhi, edited by Melody Song,
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