×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viacom Announces Acquisition of VidCon Internet-Video Conference

It’s official: Viacom has announced the acquisition VidCon, host of the world’s biggest conference dedicated to YouTube and online video.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Variety first reported Monday that Viacom was near a deal to acquire the confab, which began in 2010. UTA, which represents VidCon, brokered the deal with Viacom. UTA will continue to rep VidCon, overseeing sponsorship sales globally and helping to expand the conference internationally.

The move is part of Viacom’s efforts to expand beyond its TV legacy into next-generation entertainment platforms, as well as to expand the media conglomerate’s live-events business. The acquisition also raises the prospect of VidCon coverage being carried on Viacom’s cable nets, which include Nickelodeon and MTV. (A Viacom rep said there are currently no plans for VidCon-related TV programming.)

There’s some irony in the deal: In 2007, Viacom sued Google and YouTube over copyright infringement — seeking $1 billion in damages — before settling the case in 2014. Ten years later, Viacom is buying the biggest event dedicated to YouTube creators and businesses.

VidCon was founded by YouTube’s popular Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. In 2017, VidCon’s flagship event in Anaheim, Calif., attracted more than 30,000 attendees, 80 sponsors, and 45 exhibitors.

Popular on Variety

“VidCon has become the foremost gathering place for the passionate online video community, and the access to talent, experts and education that VidCon provides for attendees is unparalleled,” said Jason Jordan, Viacom’s EVP of multiplatform strategy and operations, said in announcing the pact.

VidCon has also introduced events in Europe and Australia, and Viacom sees an opportunity to expand the conference franchise footprint to new international and domestic markets.

Under the deal, VidCon will remain a standalone subsidiary operating independently, according to Viacom. VidCon will continue to be led by CEO Jim Louderback and remain in its current offices in Montana. Co-founder Hank Green will continue be involved and work closely with the team.

“I’m so happy that we found such a strong, successful, and progressive company to give our team the stability and resources needed to make bold moves at home and grow what we’re doing internationally,” Hank Green said in a statement, adding that Viacom “has decades of expertise creating incredible live events for fans.”

Over the past year, Viacom has been ratcheting up its focus on social media and internet video — an attempt to reach Gen Z and millennial audiences, demos have been at the core of its TV properties.

Last month Viacom acquired Whosay, an influencer marketing firm incubated by CAA that specializes in targeting young audiences online with branded content. And in the fall of 2017, Viacom hired Kelly Day — previously chief business officer for Awesomeness — to run a newly formed digital studio dedicated to short-form content.

More Digital

  • Savannah Sellers and Gadi Schwartz -

    NBC News Digital Workers Form New Union

    A group of approximately 150 editorial workers who help produce some of NBC News digital content have formed a union, citing a desire to push their employer to work more seriously through such issues as equal pay and the recent handling of sensitive stories. Editorial employees of NBC News Digital won certification of their union [...]

  • Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    The Fox Nation streaming-video service has long been touted as a new option for super-fans of the Fox News Channel. But some of the broadband hub’s new programming choices suggest adherents of “Fox & Friends” and Sean Hannity aren’t looking solely for chatter about politics and interviews with members of the Trump administration. Subscribers to [...]

  • Facebook

    FTC May Stop Facebook From Integrating Whatsapp, Instagram

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing whether it should seek an injunction against Facebook to prevent the social media giant from integrating services like Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram with its core app, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regulators fear that Facebook’s app integration plans could make [...]

  • Ivanka Trump

    Ivanka Trump Reportedly Set to Speak at CES 2020

    Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and an adviser to the president, is scheduled to appear on a panel at CES 2020 in January, according to a published report. Ivanka Trump will appear on a panel set for Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Las Vegas confab with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of [...]

  • Rooster Teeth - Joe Clary, Sean

    WarnerMedia's Rooster Teeth Names Co-Heads of Animation to Replace Gray Haddock

    Rooster Teeth’s Joe Clary and Sean Hinz are the new co-heads of its animation studio, replacing replace Gray Haddock, who recently left the company after he was moved out of his role as head of Rooster Teeth Animation earlier this year. The WarnerMedia-owned company, whose animated series include “gen:Lock,” “RWBY” and “Red vs. Blue,” promoted [...]

  • Rakuten TV Preps New AVOD Channels

    Rakuten TV Preps New AVOD Channels and Originals for 2020 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rakuten TV has garnered 10 million views on its free on-demand service since its launch in October. The streamer’s CEO, Jacinto Roca, told Variety that, buoyed by the early AVOD success, it will launch a suite of new channels and original shows on the ad-supported service in 2020. He added that he hopes the free [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content