Vidcon Brings Out Film, TV Marketers in Search of Young Consumers

Vidcon Brings Out Marketers: 'Trolls,' 'Storks,'
Ed Crisostomo/The Orange County Register via AP

Vidcon may be best known as the home to a new breed of digital content firms catering online to youth audiences, but more established media companies aren’t being left out of the fray.

While YouTube looms large over this annual confab, and other big platforms like Facebook and Twitter also gain a toehold here as they begin to invest deeper in video programming, the brands that came to power on TV and movie screens are also using Vidcon to market to audiences, a trend that has only been picking up steam since they began coming to Anaheim a few years ago.

While the marketing machine isn’t quite at Comic-Con level yet, more than a handful of upcoming theatricals are out in force at Vidcon either in conference-floor booths or as the hosts of screenings aimed to build buzz among fickle millennials that total 25,000 here.

Universal Pictures/Illumination’s “Sing” may not be due for release until December, but the animated title had a sizable chunk of floor space to itself. Ditto for Warner Bros., which won’t have two other young-skewing titles, “Storks” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” out until fall.

20th Century Fox has YouTube sensation/screenwriter John Green tubthumping on behalf of Tim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” On Friday DreamWorks is hosting an “unboxing” in support of its “Trolls” franchise featuring influencers who appear in the movie including GloZell Green, Meg DeAngelis and Ricky Dillon.

Warner Bros.’s horror film “Lights Out,” which got its start as a short film on YouTube, is also using Vidcon for a promotional push, as are other upcoming titles including “Nerve” and “Secret Life of Pets.”

NBCUniversal has been on the exhibition floor here since 2014. This time around the focus is on unscripted NBC obstacle-course series “American Ninja Warrior,” which gives attendees a shot at physical challenges likes the ones staged on TV, including the Spinning Log and the Warped Wall. People can also create an animated video of themselves navigating the course in slow motion.

Vidcon is based at the Anaheim Convention Center sitting in the shadow of Disneyland, which is represented at the event by Maker Studios. The multiplatform network is also being used as a vehicle for other arms of the Disney machine including new Disney Channel live-action series “Bizaardvark,” which hosted a Q&A at Maker’s booth. It helps that one of the show’s stars is Jake Paul, who first came to prominence on Vine.