VidCon, the annual gathering for online video enthusiasts, just added a media heavyweight to its list of attendees: Katie Couric.
The network anchor turned Yahoo Global News chief will be interviewing Ze Frank, online performance artist and president of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures. Couric joins a list of other mainstream names that will attend the three-day event, including YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki, CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone and Jason Kilar, former CEO of Hulu and founder of Vessel.
“We wanted to bring leaders who straddle the lines between traditional and online media,” said Jim Louderback, editorial director at VidCon.
“Katie is one of those who has crossed the lines from traditional video to new media,” he said, referring to Couric’s move to Yahoo from ABC News in 2014. “Ze Frank is an amazing creator who has gone the other way, from online video pioneer to heading Buzzfeed Motion pictures. It will be exciting to see them talk.”
This year’s conference, which runs July 23-25, will expand into five floors of the Anaheim Convention Center, twice as much space as VidCon had last year. Co-founder Hank Green said the number of attendees is being limited so the total attendance won’t exceed last year’s.
Hank and his brother John Green, author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” founded VidCon in 2010. This is the sixth year they’ve put on the annual convention, which has grown from around 1,400 attendees in 2010 to nearly 18,000 last year.
“VidCon has grown in size and importance, just like the online video industry as a whole,” said Paul Verna, an analyst with EMarketer in New York. “More and more content is being delivered digitally, so it’s not an undercurrent or niche anymore.”
“Established media stars like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling are now running shows on Netflix and Hulu. A YouTube personality like Grace Helbig is now running a television talk show. The lines are blurring,” he said.
Nine of 10 millennials watch videos on their smartphones, a 2014 mobile video demographic study found, according to EMarketer. The firm also reported that digital video ad spending will total $7.77 billion this year. In this context, one of VidCon’s goals is to connect executives and strategic leaders to think about content strategy, partnerships and monetization.
“We’d like people to go back to office on Monday with a ton of new ideas about the industry and the methods to implement them,” Louderback said. “The aim should be to deliver great content to viewers wherever they are and whatever glowing rectangle or screen they’re looking at.”