Stepping into the digital age, a world ruled by content creators, and their adoring fans, it was exciting to experience the dynamic world of VidCon 2023 firsthand – for the first time!

This annual event brings together creators, their community, and many industry insiders, bridging the virtual with the real world.

The grand celebration of digital culture and a tribute to the very people who shape it – content creators – was an impressive sight to see at VidCon 2023. 

Standing in the heart of the bustling crowd at VidCon Anaheim, I was swept up in a wave of excitement and curiosity. To see the whole Creator Economy in one place, celebrating this unique ecosystem was nothing short of inspiring. 

Each individual attending the conference, creator/fan/industry insider, with their unique insights and creations, contributed to the vitality of this ecosystem, making the conference a living, breathing testament to the power of digital creativity.

For me, being at VidCon 2023 was an incredible learning experience. Luckily I had the opportunity to interact directly with content creators – the heart of this vibrant ecosystem, and it was invaluable. 

I had the privilege to communicate in depth conversations with a large diversed group of creators, mainly from the US, each offered different perspective on the exciting work and challenges of their journey within the creator economy.

These personal communication with creators deepened my understanding of the inner workings of the creator world, understanding the individual struggles, how they become successful, and inspirations that usually you don’t notice, as a viewer behind the content we view. Creators shared their experiences dealing with the ever changing industry trends, their viewers evolving preferences, and the work of staying true to their creative vision while also making enough money to keep going. Hearing their thoughts, stories and concerns firsthand was enlightening. It reminded me of the importance of constantly staying attuned to creators’ needs and feedback. 

As someone who is working in the creator industry, these insights are critical to ensuring we remain aware always of the evolving realities of creators and continue to develop resources that truly support their growth and success.

I attended multiple interesting sessions, and will now share the news, announcements and my main takeaways from some of the sessions:

One of the highlights of the event was YouTube’s keynote, by the VP Product Management, in a panel with some great successful creators. The session and panel focused on the company’s community and their upcoming products while also demonstrating how YouTube ranks as the #1 in the most rewarding platform to create content on. This can be related to YouTube’s Partner Program (YPP) which allows creators to earn a percentage of the revenue generated by ads that play before and during their videos. Through the YPP, creators can earn up to 55% share of the revenue generated from the ads on long-form video content. 

An exciting announcement was their collaboration with Aloud, an AI-powered dubbing service from Google’s Area 120 incubator, making dubbed videos more accessible. The service first transcribes your video, after which you can review and edit the transcript. It then translates and produces the dubbed content. This move, along with the soon to be launched thumbnail AB testing, reflects YouTube’s commitment to continuously improve its creators’ tools.

In general, AI’s role in content creation was discussed in detail in a several of sessions. One of them by OpenAI. The conversation was about   how AI tools, including ChatGPT and DALL-E, are changing the way creators approach their creative process and businesses. The ‘democratization of content creation’ was emphasized, with the potential for AI to provide suggestions for thumbnails as an example and as a tool to brainstorm and get new content ideas. It was agreed that although the future of AI is unpredictable, the pace of change was indeed rapid, with creators positioned at the center of this shift.

In other sessions I attended, there were nice discussions about how creators used their unique attributes to build a more welcoming, safe spaces for their fans while also taking us into the complex, evolving terrain of the creator economy, scrutinizing the major players and the shifting dynamics among them. 

One of the spotlights was on the gaming community on YouTube, where creators discussed how they maintain connection with their fans and foster communication within their unique gaming communities – which I found super inspiring.

What I also found very inspiring were the talks that highlighted the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in the creator ecosystem, and how more and more creators are now using their voices to promote positive representation and drive positive change.

Other sessions and panels I attended were on engagement and connection, and focused on finding fans and building communities. It showed creators how they can find the balance between   creating for the algorithm .vs. community, and how using platforms tools, such as the YouTube community tab as an example, can help creators understand what their community actually wants and how to get new content ideas for their channels.

A main theme in several of the panels was unlocking the full earning potential as a creator. The conversations discussed building beneficial relationships with fans that can offer both direct financial rewards for creators and valuable content for fans. We know that platforms are continuously evolving, launching new models and features, and, offering more ways for creators to earn directly from their fan base, from subscription models to live stream funding. YouTube, that now ranks as the best platform for making money, has just recently lowered its monetization criteria for creators to use fan funding features in some markets, enabling creators to start earning even earlier in their journey, further “democratizing the creator economy”. The current landscape is full of opportunity, making it a thrilling time for creators, even for the smaller ones that are just getting started.

The buzz around live shopping was huge, and it’s clear that this is a trend is here to stay and is on the rise. YouTube had a beautiful installation at the main expo hall, caught everyone’s attention and had people standing in line for hours. The space showcases shopfronts from well known brands as well as creator owned shops and showcased YouTube shopping features for creators. In this drop shop, fans were able to buy merch from the favorite creators including Dream. TikTok also made sure to bring live shopping to the center, and in their lounge creators got the chance to test the live shopping tools firsthand.  

To summarize my experience, the event represented what’s new and what’s next in this dynamic world of the creator ecosystem. One crucial takeaway was the importance of creators utilizing time effectively, adopting new tools, especially AI ones, to optimize content creation. The trend of diversifying revenue was clearly visible, with platforms developing features for direct fan-to-creator financial transactions. It all showcased the ever evolving creator landscape, hinting at a future full of opportunities and innovation for creators in the digital media space.

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