9 things we learned at VidCon
Unreel was representing at VidCon 2016 with a Booth on the creator level. After 3-days of exploring the sights and sounds and speaking with creators, here is what we learned:
1. The YouTube community is everything it presents itself to be
If you watch enough YouTube and ignore the infrequent petty drama, the pervasive vibe is that creators are supportive and grateful people. Meeting them all in real life at VidCon it is very clear that they are just that. There is a true sense of camaraderie and mutual respect between YouTubers of all sizes. No matter how big the creators name, the level of respect for fans and fellow creators was incredible.
2. Content creators want money
After three days of non-stop conversation with content creators, one thing was abundantly clear — they want to make more money. It is not that they are greedy or that they got into making videos to become rich, it is about what is fair. The larger the YouTuber, the more money they bring in for the platform, yet their cut of the profit pie remains small. These YouTubers realize they no longer need to rely on just YouTube to generate revenue. In fact they are convinced that greener pastures exist off-platform, distributing and monetizing content themselves. Our pitch to content creators resonated with the majority of creators, who instantly saw that we are providing them with the tools to do just that; self distribute.
3. Creators come in all shapes and size
As previously mentioned, the YouTube community is as accepting and supportive in real life as it appears to be online. That openness means that any and all types of people are not only welcome online, but thrive there. Online video is not just for entertainment, but also gives a voice to those who are silenced by society. It was not unusual to be speaking with a mother and her 6-year old daughter, thinking they must just be starting out, to find out the daughter has half a million subscribers. We quickly learned to reserve any and all judgments about a creator’s success based on appearance; an attitude that would do anyone well anywhere, not just at VidCon.
4. If you want to party It matters who you know
Ahh yes, the legendary VidCon Parties. Sponsored by companies so flushed with cash they are throwing a party to celebrate it! Imagine your YouTube recommended videos section came to life, and all the creators were drunk, that is a VidCon Party. The problem is the best of these parties are away from the convention center and require a highly coveted “invite” to attend. Unless you are a big shot creator, receiving said invite can be difficult. This is where all that networking done during the day comes in handy. Find a way to be a person’s “plus 1” or beg at the booth of the company throwing the party the day of, and hopefully you’ll find yourself at the party.
5. Community please
A common complaint we heard from YouTubers, filmmakers, and all the content creators is that they want to control and develop their community. The beauty of being an online star is that the relationship with fans is very much a dialogue. Creators and their audience are taking part in a conversation and interact with their fanbase; it is one of the best parts about being an Internet star, and creators want more of it. The current platforms (Vine, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook) make it difficult for stars to create and develop a community on their platform. The ability to collect fan’s emails with your own unreel.me powered site was one that excited the creators we signed up at the event. In the future we are looking for additional ways to allow creators to build a community around their content on their site.
6. The free food is, eh
There is a reason it’s free. VidCon does some things really well like bringing to life a cyber community of diverse creators for a 3-day celebration of their industry and success. Vidcon does not however do food well. Allow me to paint for you a disturbing picture. It is 6pm, you’ve been up since 7am. For breakfast you grab a quick bite and rush to the convention center so not to miss any of the days events. Your day consists of fighting your way through hordes of manic fans and non-stop activities. You skip lunch because the lines are too long and you hear there is a free creator only dinner at 6. You wait in front of the buffet for 20 minutes, your head still pounding from the piercing screeches of teenage girls. Finally at 6:03 they reveal what sits upon the silver serving trays. What I am about to divulge is graphic and may not be appropriate for those of weak constitutions. On the menu was packages of dehydrated cheese balls, orange cheese puffs in a bowl, Minnie microwave cheese pizzas with no sauce, and a cow pie for dessert. Vidcon must have missed the memo “Its not easy being cheesy.”
7. Subnetworks/ talent networks are scrambling
With YouTube’s recent ban on subnetworks, any one who is not an approved MCN is quickly trying to find new value to bring to their clients. Without the ability to manage creators with YouTube’s MCN tools, subnetworks in particular are somewhat desperate to present their creators with a reason to stick around. We found the managers of these networks were very receptive to the idea of bringing their creators onto unreel. That way their talent would have additional revenue and growth opportunities on their own unreel.me powered site and the network would have an MCN type dashboard to manage and control their creator’s sites.
8. Live Streaming is the future
In case it is not already abundantly clear, live streaming is the future. For the same reasons live TV is so popular, live online video has taken off. You couldn’t throw an unreel beach ball in the Anaheim convention center without hitting someone with a phone on the end of a selfie stick live streaming themselves to their fans. Speaking with creators it was a common question whether we supported live streaming and we are proud to say that yes we will.
9. Tip me, tip me!
Our booth was located very close to the Patreon lounge, so many of the creators checking us out were in a tipsy state of mind. For the mid range creators, who have some dedicated fans, but not enough to justify putting content behind a paywall, or those who feared alienating their fans by forcing them to pay for content, a tip jar system was at the top of their request list for us. Understandably, tips are a win-win, affording happy fans an outlet for their gratitude and giving deserving creators the support they need. As unreel moves forward we are looking for additional way to improve our tip jar to allow fans and creators options.
Now Learn More about Unreel.me!
Unreel gives content creators their own custom video streaming site and apps to distribute and monetize content off-platform. We instantly synch your content from YouTube/Facebook to your site, and you also have the option to upload video directly to your site. Any videos directly uploaded to your site can be monetized however you would like (Video-on-Demand, subscription, advertisements) There are also additional revenue generators for your site like tip jar and merchandise sales. All profits generated on your site happen with a rev share model that is way fairer than the other guys.
The video player on your site would be powered by our patented tech that captures any comment made about moments in your videos on the main social platforms, (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit). These comments become time stamped comments on your videos that scroll on the screen as the corresponding moments occur in the video. This also provides you with powerful analytics, as you can now see where the most talked about moments are in your video, and determine what it was about that scene that resonated with fans most.
Your site will have cool features like an instant gif and meme maker, smart video recommendations, and an instant highlight creator (easily create compilations of your Vines)! You also will be able to collect fans emails to market and interact with them.