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Brief Published: 19 Jul 2019

Next-Gen Social Video Takes Vidcon 2019

Equal parts fan convention, creative networking festival and marketing tech conference, VidCon 2019 in Anaheim saw creators and 75,000 attendees look beyond YouTube for their next opportunities.

Since its inception in 2009, VidCon – which was bought by media giant Viacom in 2018 – has chiefly drawn YouTube creators and their fans; but 2019's events were taken over by TikTok. The short-form video-blogging hub owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance was the third-most-installed app worldwide in the first quarter of 2019 behind WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and boasts 1.2 billion monthly users.

TikTok has exactly what YouTube offered 10 years ago: low hierarchies, high discoverability for new creators, and no need for costly equipment to participate. For now, YouTube still has a simple edge over TikTok in its monetisation channels for creators who wish to convert their followers into incomes. However, as we noted in Dynamic Youth: Powering the Brand of Self, Gen Z flit between multiple side hustles, and this entrepreneurial cohort will simply open up its own revenue streams via paid fan-club hubs and merch deals.

Nearly one year into being available outside of China, it remains to be seen whether TikTok has staying power. Its spread isn't entirely coincidental, as The Wall Street Journal reports ByteDance has spent nearly $1bn promoting the app. However, as highlighted in Pop Culture Close-Up: Meme Mechanics, its collaborative and performative user experience certainly indicates the direction of travel for social video.

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