Report: Viacom plans to buy VidCon in push to court younger audiences
- Viacom is close to acquiring VidCon, sources knowledgeable of the transaction told Variety.
- Founded in 2010, VidCon is similar to Comic-Con but focused on online video content creators, giving young fans the chance to meet their favorite stars. If the deal goes through, VidCon would become an independent division of Viacom, keeping its offices and leadership intact.
- YouTube has been a dominant player at the annual show, but other digital platforms with a strong influencer presence such as Facebook, Instagram and Musical.ly have also participated. This year's event is scheduled to start on June 20, and last year's attracted more than 30,000 attendees.
Viacom buying VidCon would be another way for the cable giant to expand its area of influence past channels like TV, which young consumer segments like Gen Z are turning to less frequently for content consumption. In January, Viacom acquired the influencer marketing firm Whosay, fitting into a broader company strategy to go after next-generation solutions in 2018.
VidCon has grown in popularity with marketers as they put more stock in influencers from platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and Musical.ly, to the point where it's started to overshadow some legacy industry shows. The event has also been popular among media companies like NBCUniveral, Fox and Scripps looking to promote movies and TV programming, per Variety. Viacom has participated at VidCon in the past with its Nickelodeon brand.
Viacom's investment in new platforms and events shows how traditional media entities are more often leaning into digital-first strategies as the number of pay TV subscribers continues to fall with no signs of slowing. Fox recently teamed up with Twitter to live stream a show during the FIFA World Cup this summer, with highlights running on Snapchat.