YouTube Inks VidCon Sponsor Pact (Exclusive)

YouTube has ponied up to be title sponsor of VidCon, confab for Internet video fans, creators and digital bizzers, for the next two years.

Major vidsite’s premium sponsorship will give it a bigger presence with workshops and other events at the 2013 and 2014 shows, VidCon’s fourth and fifth respectively. This year it will run Aug. 1-3 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“VidCon is a great celebration of and by the online video community,” Tom Pickett, YouTube veep and global head of content operations, said in an email. “We’re excited to see YouTube creators come together to learn, share and create at such a vibrant and energizing conference.”

VidCon was created by Hank and John Green, siblings who have produced a YouTube channel, VlogBrothers, since 2007.

“When we started out, YouTube was a little bit arms-length, like, ‘What is this thing?’” Hank Green said. “But after the first year, they were very eager to help us.” While VidCon has had a huge focus on YouTube and still will, scope of the conference extends to all Internet video platforms, he said.

Hank declined to disclose value of YouTube sponsor pact, but said that with the additional money plus ticket sales VidCon is now on track to be profitable.

Last year, VidCon attracted more than 7,000 attendees to Southern California, and Hank hopes headcount hits 10,000 in 2013.

“People who create online video can experience their fans in a way that’s not just numbers flicking up on a screen,” said Hank, who resides in Missoula, Montana.

For industry pros, hot topics at VidCon will be the value that multichannel networks provide for partners big and small and whether a shift to content with higher production values can be supported by ads/sponsorships vs. subscription model.

“There are some network executives who want to know more about this space, because their kids are into it,” Hank said. “Others aren’t interested.”

YouTube is the title VidCon sponsor for the next two years, while Fullscreen and BigFrame are “silver” and Awesomeness TV is at “bronze” level.

Online video personalities expected to be on hand at VidCon include: Dane Boedigheimer (“Annoying Orange”), iJustine, Jenna Marbles, Charlie McDonnell, Dave Days, Phil DeFranco, Rhett and Link, Shane Dawson, Shay Carl, Toby Turner, The Fine Brothers and Smosh.

But Hank Green predicted that the Internet vid celebs in attendance who will attract the most rabid fans are British identical twin teens Jack and Finn Harries, who run YouTube channel JacksGap. “They are dreamboats. They’re funny. They will get rushed like The Beatles,” he said.

Take note, however: YouTube K-pop sensation Psy will not be there. “He’s a busy guy,” Green said with laugh. “Plus, I don’t think he’s going to perform ‘Gangnam Style’ ever again, which is what we’d want him to do.”

VidCon is produced by San Francisco-based Bryan Allen Events.

Passes to the main conference (Aug. 2-3) are $110 each. Industry passes, which include access to biz-focused panels and presentations on Aug. 1 are $475. Besides an expo area, confab includes dance parties, concerts and an outdoor “chill” area.

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