The Drum | Overheard At VidCon Anaheim 2023: ‘We Are Moving In A Similar Direction To Entertainment’

VidCon, a convention for the creator economy that draws 50,000 attendees every year, has begun at the Anaheim Convention Center. Here is a routinely updated list of the things luminaries and stars are saying on the ground.

“10 years ago, we looked at YouTube as mostly a marketing channel to drive people back to linear TV [via promos and trailers] … What we found over time was that we were engaging and fostering [on YouTube] a completely different audience [and] YouTube was successful at driving audiences from one digital platform to another … It has definitely been a huge transition.”

– Michael Scogin, vice-president of strategic partnerships, NBCUniversal

“Creators were treated as tech companies [by venture capitalists] a few years ago – but this is a creative industry … A typical company behaves like a pyramid, with the CEO at the top. You flip that model on its head, and you have a creator company. We are moving in a similar direction to entertainment and music than founders. I think we were looked at as founders.”

– Samir Chaudry, creator, co-founder and president, Colin and Samir

“With the more followers you get, you have to start hiring people, like an agent or publicist. Just remember, when you start hiring these people, that they work for you; you don’t work for them. They’ll tell you, ‘You need to start posting things like this,’ and over time you start to lose yourself. That’s what happened to me a few years ago. You start to become a shell of who you used to be.”

– Amber Rose, creator, model and TV personality

“If I was a creator, I would think this is the scariest development we’ve seen in a long time: [before] it was all about getting you to follow a specific creator. YouTube would hand out these awards for certain amounts of subscribers … [Now] it is less and less about the individual creator and more about being entertained. That should be scary to creators and it raises the question about how they establish a real audience as they did in the past.”

– Rich Greenfield, co-founder and general partner, LightShed Ventures

“Ten years ago, [creators] had to have a unique content strategy for each platform. Now, with short form content competitors like Instagram and Facebook Reels, you can now kind of use the same thing across platforms, because it’s a different audience on each platform.”

– Stephanie Smith, vice-president and head of talent strategy, UTA IQ

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