Movie studios have noticed that VidCon is full of young digitally-savvy people with cameras and expertise in using them and so are beginning to expand some nascent efforts to shill movies directly to that crowd.
The article makes the point that this is the latest fan gathering to get studio’s’ attention, the biggest previous example being, of course, San Diego Comic-Con. For over a decade now Hollywood has flocked to San Diego to shill their latest movies with Hall H panels that feature cast and crew and show floor setups displaying costumes, props and more. That attention started out relatively small and included properties that were laser-focused on the interests of the crowd in attendance. It slowly started to lose focus as it became a waypoint on the promotional tour for almost *any* TV show or movie. Now, as mentioned previously, studios are beginning to skip it because, at least in part, it no longer does what it needs to do.
It’s hard to imagine efforts at VidCon won’t follow the same pattern, but in a condensed timeline. So if it took 15 years or so for SDCC to go from experimental efforts to overdone, the same cycle will play out over five, at most. That’s because the VidCon crowd is one that’s hip to what’s hot right now and is always on cusp of adopting the next big thing. And they’re above average in savviness to when they’re being sold something and hesitant to adopt any random shiny object as part of their personal brand.
That’s all not say the Comic-Con crowd isn’t savvy. But at VidCon you’re dealing with people whose entire mission is to curate and protect their brand. This is just like dealing with the media, where they’re deciding whether or not this is going to be good for them, whether or not their audience will react positively to the content and more. It’s not like generating word of mouth or buzz with a sizzle reel or with some awesome swag, it’s working with the press, but a segment of the press that’s even more sensitive to the whims of their unique audience than any given reporter or producer.
Some of the VidCon efforts are sure to resonate and some won’t. But the half-life of these efforts may be pretty short as the audience there quickly rejects some overtures and latches on to others, with what works and what doesn’t shifting from one year to the next as trends, whims and other factors change. So look for big flashes and a quick burn on the formal outreach to the VidCon attendees as they prove a bit too fickle for Hollywood’s tastes.