VIDCON. In what could only be seen as a massive irony, Viacom has acquired the Vidcon Online Video Convention entity. One may or may not recall that Viacom sued Google and Youtube at one point about copyright infringement. But now the traditional media conglomerate has recognized that new online Media – centered around the VIDCON conventions growing in Europe and Asia – is at the epicenter of the media tectonic plates shifting under our very feet.
I have attended the last four VIDCON conventions in Anaheim. Each time, I came away with a massive amount of knowledge and insight. My last VIDCON in 2017, I did live blogging. I also induced two friends of mine, Heather and Adrian, to attend the event. Neither of them (nor I) are millenials. But we wanted to see what the shifting media world was about as represented by VIDCON.
The move is part of Viacom’s efforts to expand beyond its TV legacy into next-generation entertainment platforms, as well as to expand the media conglomerate’s live-events business. The acquisition also raises the prospect of VidCon coverage being carried on Viacom’s cable nets, which include Nickelodeon and MTV. (A Viacom rep said there are currently no plans for VidCon-related TV programming.)
VIDCON has conferences, speakers, industry related events (traditional Old Media and New Media) as well as media entrepreneurs, YouTube personalities and more.
“I’m so happy that we found such a strong, successful, and progressive company to give our team the stability and resources needed to make bold moves at home and grow what we’re doing internationally,” Hank Green said in a statement, adding that Viacom “has decades of expertise creating incredible live events for fans.”
Over the past year, Viacom has been ratcheting up its focus on social media and internet video — an attempt to reach Gen Z and millennial audiences, demos have been at the core of its TV properties.
Last month Viacom acquired Whosay, an influencer marketing firm incubated by CAA that specializes in targeting young audiences online with branded content. And in the fall of 2017, Viacom hired Kelly Day — previously chief business officer for Awesomeness — to run a newly formed digital studio dedicated to short-form content.