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Duration:04:33
Uploaded:2018-02-07
Last sync:2018-02-07 16:00
In which Hank gives some context and background to Viacom's acquisition of VidCon.

Hello, hankschannel.  It's been a while.  VidCon is a company that my brother and I started back in 2010.  Here's the program from the very first VidCon in 2010.  I have it on my shelf.  It's got, you know, all the stuff that we did and all that.  It was a good time, ze frank was there, Smosh, and Rhett and Link, and I was there and Nalts, Lisa Nova, Jim Louderback was there who is now the CEO of VidCon.  It's gone from a 1400 person event in the basement of a hotel to three different events on three different continents with 40,000 total attendees and this week, Viacom bought VidCon.

There's a bunch of articles, you can read them, but the quick info is that the entire VidCon team is staying in place, nobody's moving anywhere.  We still have our offices, weirdly, in Missoula, MT and I'm staying with the company.  I'm--since stepping back a while ago, I've been focusing on creator track content, making stuff for, you know, sort of the independent creator class.  Making sure that that stuff is more and more aligned with what those people need and not just sort of like, if you wanna be big on YouTube, just do your best and be yourself!  But, you know, a little bit more breadth than that and I think that we're doing a better and better job at that over the years.  I also do some overall strategy work and I work on featured creator experience, so making sure that the people we invite out to the event have the best possible time.  I like doing that work a lot and I hope to continue doing it for a long time.

Most companies, as they get bigger, they get more stable.  VidCon did the opposite of that because every year, a bigger company was betting the whole thing on one event and that's scary for the people who love and work on VidCon all year round and it's also just like sort of a risky way to run a business.  So more than a year ago, the VidCon Leadership team started looking for a partner who would bring us that stability, they'd bring us expertise in media, was the ideal situation.  Also, in international markets like working internationally, and also in live events.  

The VidCon team, of course, is experts in live events but you know, in the specific thing that we do and when we try new things we have to learn a lot, so it would be nice to have some additional expertise and different ways of doing things.  Viacom brings all of those things.  They are a big media company.  They own MTV, VH1, BET, Comedy Central, a bunch of other TV stations.  They also own Paramount Pictures and they are the home of the best TV show currently on television: RuPaul's Drag Race.  But more importantly to VidCon, they make great events happen.  They have the BET Experience, which is like 165,000 people come through it.  They have the Clusterfest, which is a comedy event that had over 40,000 attendees last year, and they brought ideas to VidCon for how to make the event better that were really based in an understanding that first and foremost, events are about community, and we didn't get that with every group of people we talked to.  

There was a time when Viacom and YouTube had a pretty contentious relationship and during that time, I, being a defender of YouTube, was pretty critical of Viacom, and I stand by a lot of those criticisms.  I even signed a brief that used in the lawsuit to defend YouTube against Viacom saying that, look, look, there are lots of things that make YouTube successful, it isn't just pirated Viacom/Comedy Central clips.  That has since blown over, both through the passage of time and also everything in media changing and also the people who are running Viacom now are not the same people who were running Viacom then.

One of the things that VidCon was looking for when talking to potential partners was if they identified the actually valuable things about our team and our company, and it was clear that Viacom's events people were like, super excited and impressed by the VidCon team's understanding of this community, like, the depth of that understanding and their passion for it.  They actually had a couple ideas for fostering the creator community that I was really impressed by, that VidCon will be announcing in the coming weeks, so that's really exciting too, but I wanna emphasize that the team isn't changing.  We're running the same event.  We just have some more resources to take some more risks and do some more interesting things.  

Forbes recently ranked event planner as the fifth most stressful job in America behind police officers, firefighters, airline pilots, and military personnel, so I believe it.  This team is amazing and they do really tough stuff and they do it really well.  I'm so impressed by them and proud of them.  I am in awe of them and I'm so excited and happy to be part of what we have done, what we're doing, and what we will continue to do.  That's the information I have.  Thanks.