Last year, the inaugural VidCon Europe was dominated by YouTube “Adpocalypse”, the great brand safety scare of 2017. That year, the conversation amongst digital media companies and MCNs in Europe was largely focused on expanding their presence on other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook to reduce their dependency on YouTube, and in anticipation of those platforms enabling some form of scaled revenue share. Fast forward to VidCon Europe 2018, and the marketplace seems to have changed completely.
Last year’s EU event received mixed reviews, so attendees were uncertain what to expect in 2018, and VidCon organizers knew they needed to step up their game. Thankfully, this year’s venue was more central to the city, included a tasteful lounge sponsored by Facebook, and offered extensive networking options through VidCon’s Brella app.
Typically during industry conferences my schedule is packed, so I have to be extremely selective about what panels and other programming sessions to attend. Much of my day revolves around meetings with customers and industry contacts, allowing me to indulge my coffee obsession until my heart is on the verge of exploding from over-caffeination.
Takeaway #1: Social Platform Diversification is Essential.
Rian Bosak, owner and CEO at SuperBam (double-shot espresso), shared his outsider’s perspective that Europe’s digital video market is strong and growing, yet about 2-3 years behind the US in the sense that YouTube is still its core.
“Literally everyone who asks me, I tell them to get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Mobcrush, Twitch, Patreon, anything that expands their business so they’re not tied to one line of revenue.”
This is not surprising due to the many policy changes and brand safety blunders that have continued to plague the YouTube ecosystem in the last year. Though Facebook’s recent data security issues and lackluster showing on Facebook Watch has some holding their ground on YouTube.
Takeaway #2: Long Live the Influencer Agency. And the Digital Producer.
Recent changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) were the last nail in the coffin for the scaled MCN model. European MCNs have responded by narrowing their focus, either focusing on developing top talent or doubling down on digital content production. But it is a crowded arena.
Former Studio71 UK lead Elly Garrod (decaf black coffee), is now Managing Director at HelloWorld,a live event with UK’s biggest influencers. Though impressed by VidCon EU 2018’s more intimate setting, Elly feels it was not representative of the industry’s increasingly fragmented state.
“There are so many channels and so many companies offering different versions of the same thing. Everyone is trying to find their place, so it will be interesting to see if the brand money increases enough in this sector to support so many players .”
Takeaway #3: New Platforms to the Rescue. Maybe.
Managing Director of Dutch influencer production company Onlane, Jonatan de Boer (classic black coffee), dreams of helping Musers (influencers on Musical.ly) develop superstar careers.
“YouTube had a rough year, Facebook is in the midst of an identity crisis, and while Snapchat is still one of the big guys… for how long will that be? Nobody really seems to know what the future will bring.”
The most common message I heard during my coffee sessions: Nobody knows what the future holds for digital video and influencer marketing.
Looking ahead, I’m curious to see what VidCon US 2018 will teach us. As the biggest show of the year, the original VidCon event regularly attracts more than 30,000 creators, fans, and industry attendees, all eager to gain insight into the latest video industry trends.
Will you be attending Vidcon US 2018 in June? Please give me a heads up so I can get a coffee with you. I prefer a cappuccino with a Dutch stroopwafel on the side. Feel free to contact us at [email protected]
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