- YouTube is this year’s title sponsor of VidCon, according to media reports. One of the largest annual conventions for brands and digital creators, the event is slated to take place June 21 through 24 in Anaheim, California.
- The Google-owned platform returns to the role after a hiatus that saw TikTok assume title sponsorship in 2022. The ByteDance-owned platform also sponsored the event in 2021, though it was canceled due to COVID-19.
- The news follows other creator-driven efforts by YouTube as it battles recent revenue declines. Meanwhile, TikTok’s pullback comes as its presence in the U.S. market faces intensifying scrutiny.
YouTube’s move to sponsor VidCon again places it at the center of one of the creator economy’s flashiest displays of the year. The back-and-forth between TikTok and YouTube reflects a shift by both creators and marketers to adopt multiple platforms as part of their social media mix amid the popularity of short entertaining videos.
By returning as VidCon’s title sponsor, YouTube can spread the word of the new process for monetizing its Shorts short-form video feature that will allow revenue from ads displayed between Shorts clips to be shared among eligible creators within the app. The move was first teased last September and now has a launch date of Feb. 1, just a few months ahead of the event that last year hosted over 100 brands and 50,000 attendees. Having a strong presence at the convention could help recruit new creators to YouTube as it vies for a larger share of the creator market.
YouTube’s move comes at a time when the platform is attempting to bounce back from a turbulent 2022 that saw revenue fall 2% year-over-year in Q3 — a stark contrast to the 43% revenue growth it experienced in 2021. The effort also represents somewhat of a return to normal: Until TikTok briefly took over, YouTube was the event’s title sponsor from 2013 to 2019. The event itself was created by two former YouTubers.
Despite TikTok’s brief run as title sponsor, the platform will go far from unnoticed at this year’s event. VidCon’s featured creator lineup already includes a slew of well-known names like Drew Afualo, Celina “SpookyBoo” Myers and Spencewuah, among others, several of whom command massive followings on the ByteDance app.
While it’s unclear why TikTok has seemingly pulled back on its involvement with the event, it comes as the app’s presence in the U.S. continues to be scrutinized. The platform has recently come under fire for data privacy concerns, which has in turn led a growing number of public universities to ban the app on school computers, mobile devices and WiFi in accordance with new state policies. The platform is also reprioritizing its resources as it looks to round out its social commerce ambitions, which recently grew to include plans for U.S. fulfillment centers. Regardless, the app’s popularity shows no signs of slowing, having recently booted Netflix to become the second most popular app for those under 35 — falling short only to YouTube.