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Humanizing Tech

"The Business of Vidcon 2016, From a Video Product Guy’s Perspective" in Humanizing Tech

The entrance to the 7th annual Vidcon, held in the Anaheim CA Convention Center.

This story started exactly one year ago, with a hospital visit, a plane, train and automobile, and two weeks spent in England and Scotland well before the Brexit shenanigans. But we’ll get back to that in a moment.

This weekend, the 7th annual Vidcon was held in Anaheim California’s convention center. A record setting 25,000 attendees were swarming the location (even if checking in on Foursquare isn’t exactly a thing any more).

As I often do, I spent some time at the event looking to compare the experience to my multiple trips to the other annual video industry events: NAB in Vegas and IBC in Amsterdam.

If I could reduce the comparison down to a few words, it would be: Vidcon is for the audience and NAB/IBC is for the businesses. Below are brief summaries of the last two major video shows and details about this weekend’s Vidcon.

NAB 2016

With 103,000 attendees held in Las Vegas, it’s nearly as big as the largest tech show on the planet (CES had 177,000 attendees in Vegas in January) and includes high-end video camera production equipment, all manner of digital video platforms, startups, and drones, VR, etc. I did a similar sort of tweetstorm in April covering what it was like to be on the floor here:

35 Tweets with Pictures & Comments From the NAB Show Floor

It’s a massive show, covering about 3 different halls. It took me 3 days just to walk the entire show flow and make sure I had seen everything, talked to all the industry folks, partnership folks, and customers that help us move the ball down the field.

We used to do the two-story massive booths but found that it was noisy, chaotic, expensive, and didn’t give us much in the way of ROI. And so last year we decided to try something different and invest in the product rather than the perception. We killed the booth idea (it’s a race to the bottom anyways) and instead got a luxurious private suite at one of the hotels where we could have more intimate and strategic conversations with our most special customers and innovative partners.

Everyone we surveyed, especially the biggest players in Broadcast, loved the feeling, the calmness, and the intimacy of the off-floor venue. We found it to be more relaxed and had better outcomes as well. No more wondering if someone is listening over your shoulder. And so we’ll likely continue that trend for the foreseeable future at all the shows.

IBC 2015

About half the size of NAB, last year 55,000 attendees descended upon Amsterdam. It’s essentially the same thing as NAB, only it’s on the other side of the world and happens about 6 months later. It’s also about half as big, but is still mostly massive booths with the vast majority being middle-aged white dudes talking to each other about specs, platforms, equipment, and deals.

It allows customers to chat with business providers from the major brands and get work done while also showing off demos of the latest and greatest. We follow a similar strategy at this show that we do at NAB. It’s almost a bigger show for us, however, as we have a very large European operation in the UK, Italy, and Spain, along with a major partnership with our friends across the pond in Japan.

We Built A Product for TV, Pitbull, Michelle Phan & Britney Furlan

Vidcon 2016

Vidcon is a younger show, only 7 years old but has 25,000 attendees and held in Anaheim CA. But it’s a very different experience than NAB or IBC. It’s like high school just got out and everyone Snapchatted each other to meet at the convention center. The Booths are also much different. Instead of a bunch of dudes in suits and architectural diagrams or production equipment there are bounce houses, cupcake decorating, impromptu music concerts, DJs in the back of cars, and plenty of spots for selfie-ing.

It’s where the new social media celebrities get to meet their Gen Z fans live and in-person. My media-rich tweetstorm is embedded below, but there is one specific aspect of my experience that’s worth calling out: the use of smart phones at the event.

Major Gen Z Trend

It struck me almost immediately after arriving, while I was walking towards the conference hall. I didn’t notice any of these kids looking at their phones. In fact, I didn’t even see the phones in these people’s hands. As I walked through the show floor, it dawned on me that these Millennials and Gen Z-ers were actually enjoying the moments with their friends. They didn’t have their heads buried in a smart phone. So weird. This leads me to a prediction.

Gen Z (teenagers today) will be more concerned with experiencing the world around them instead of capturing every moment with their iPhone.

The pendulum will swing back the other way. Sure, maybe some are using their iPhone as a Snapchat Phone when they’re in the back of a car or lying around their house, seemingly bored. But when they’re out in the world, it seems they’d rather be living in the moment.

There were also a few product-related announcements from the big social networks at the show that are worth understanding.

Facebook: Mobile Live

  • 2-Person Remote Broadcasts: almost like a remote interviews or duets. It assumes the two people are in different locations.
  • Pre-Schedule Streams: set a time for your live stream to start in the future.
  • Virtual Waiting Rooms: if you’ve set a time for a stream to start, people can wait if they show up early. That way when the stream starts you have a built-in audience immediately and gets around the problem of dead content while you wait for an audience to assemble.
  • Video Lenses: Facebook acquired an app that does something similar to Snapchat’s video filters over a user’s face. Facebook now lets users live stream themselves “trying on” these video masks. Smart feature and highly engaging.

YouTube: Mobile Live

  • Adding the ability to stream live to their main app with a red capture button in the corner of their app
  • Looks incredibly close to Periscope’s UI, but not much more is known at the moment because it hasn’t been released yet and only a few mockups were shown.
  • CEO Susan Wojcicki’s Vidcon Keynote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UVOK4SdVno

Time Inc’s: Instant.me Vidcon Launch

  • Not sure whether this will resonate with Gen Z but they have some of the social celebs promoting it (like Jake Paul)
  • http://ift.tt/28Wquyc

Meanwhile at Cannes Lions Ad Festival

Snapchat was curiously absent from Vidcon. And I knew why after following the news earlier this week. Snapchat was busy blanketing the entrance of Cannes to push brands to spend their ad dollars with Snapchat rather than on traditional broadcast TV (it’s trending again!). They have a new ads API that they’re showing off and attempting to sell as the access point.

Snapchat at Cannes Lions earlier this week, but nowhere to be found at Vidcon 2016.
  • Snapchat has 100M DAUs with nearly all of them the core Millennial market, focused on video lenses and geo filters and fast tapping through hundreds of stories daily.
  • Ad prices for Snapchat are expensive: $450K to $750K for a sponsored lens that lasts only 24 hours.
  • 20th Century Fox used it and got about 300M views across 40M people. That’s 7.5 views per person.

Snapchat’s engagement is so high that some people describe it not as an iPhone, but as a Snapchat phone because it’s the only app they use and have open all day. But will Gen Z continue to feel that way in a few years?

Tweetstorm from the Vidcon Show Floor

Below are some embedded tweets at the event. You’ll have to visit the original tweet on Twitter itself to see my own commentary. I usually reply to myself which is understandably weird, but keeps things organized since Twitter’s UI isn’t nearly as good as Facebook’s.

So you might be asking yourself at this point what the story was about that kicked off this post. Well considering the amount of announcements about mobile live streaming, it reminded me of the workshop I did with some innovative Piksel folks last year in York England.

We had about 15 people involved to build out something we called Starcast. In it’s most simple form, it allowed people to broadcast live streams from their mobile phone, but did it from multiple camera angles instead of just a single “talking head” stream. It was created for larger events, but also had a lot of novel product design approaches embedded in the product to allow for easy onboarding and better engagement than floating hearts.

We filed a number of patents that the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and yes even Periscope/Twitter, will likely run into as they continue to build out their video services. After all, we’ve been doing video at the highest levels for nearly two decades and live streaming for a decade.

Piksel knows video.

State of Mobile Live

Thus, everyday people now have 3 alternatives to do live: Twitter/Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook (which offers 24x7) all for free. Meerkat pivoted their one-to-many live streaming service to group video chats. And of course, Piksel for the major brands to have their own solution offered to people.

I suppose the question is, now that mobile live is a commodity, who will offer the best free experience? And sure, these social networks give you audience, but you’re giving up your valuable content, your brand, and your content to these 3rd parties to own and monetize instead of keeping that equity for yourself.

That’s why Piksel exists. To give you the power to take control of your own video destiny.

— Sean

The Business of Vidcon 2016, From a Video Product Guy’s Perspective was originally published in Humanizing Tech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Read the responses to this story on Medium.

from Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/28WqIp4