- TikTok will be the title sponsor of this year's VidCon US, per a report in Variety. It takes over a position YouTube has held every year since 2013 barring 2020, when the event was canceled due to the pandemic.
- As part of the pact, TikTok will feature its talent and executives in all three VidCon tracks — Community, Creator and Industry — as well as sponsor some of the expo hall stages at the convention that is focused on connecting online video creators to fans and businesses. The ByteDance-owned app will also deliver the keynote address.
- While YouTube remains a VidCon sponsor, it is moving to a secondary spot behind TikTok. TikTok's heightened VidCon presence is a major opportunity for the platform to build out a creator community and strengthen its standing among better-established social video giants, primarily YouTube and Snapchat.
With the title sponsorship for VidCon US 2021, TikTok will be the most prominent platform brand at a key venue for connecting online video creators and tech with consumers. The confab drew 75,000 attendees in 2019 and has historically been most closely associated with YouTube. The switch-up in title sponsors could read as a changing of the guard, strengthening TikTok's position as a formidable competitor to social video giants that have long wielded control of the category and its advertising dollars.
TikTok will deploy a team of top creators and executives at the convention to promote its offerings and attract more talent into the app's fold. As digital video becomes a more important channel in advertising and entertainment, a bidding war for creators has emerged between the leading short-form video companies. Last month, YouTube launched a $100 million fund to attract creators to its TikTok-like video product, Shorts. The investment mirrored aspects of a Snap campaign last year, in which the platform distributed $1 million a day through the end of 2020 to creators who posted videos to Spotlight, the company's own short-form video offering.
TikTok securing the VidCon title sponsorship is consistent with the platform's other efforts to capture more brand dollars and expand its advertising ventures. At its NewFronts presentation last month — the company's second ever — TikTok pitched advertisers on an ability to reach beyond Gen Z and capture growing consumer interest in social commerce. In April, the platform entered a partnership with IPG Mediabrands, which gives the group's clients special access to TikTok's creators in order to "drive brands to the center of culture." TikTok has also strived to improve its commerce capabilities, hosting livestreams and campaigns that promote products on its platform.
VidCon, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, will return with both in-person and virtual ticket options from Oct. 22-24 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, becoming one of the first major conventions to do so since the pandemic precluded hosting live audiences. While the in-person element will certainly attract some spectators, other individuals in the advertising space may not be as excited for the return, and may choose to attend virtually instead. Ahead of this year's NewFronts, many media buyers expressed a disinterest in the glitz of an in-person convention in favor of an a la carte approach.
VidCon was started in 2010 by YouTuber brothers Hank and John Green, who sold it to Viacom — now ViacomCBS — in 2018. In addition to hosting an annual convention in the U.S., the confab has also held or has plans to hold international events in Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo.