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How VidCon Puts the Audience Front and Center (All Things Video Podcast)

VidCon GM Jim Louderback discusses the early days of online video and the industry’s dramatic evolution over the past decade

As the GM & SVP VidCon at Viacom, Jim Louderback oversees the world’s largest event series for online video creators, fans and industry professionals. Jim began his career in consulting and publishing, but by his own admission he began helping media companies reinvent themselves online after concluding “magazines were dying.”

In 2007, he became the CEO of the early video network Revision3, which was later acquired by Discovery. Since then, he spent his time investing in and advising early stage companies before joining VidCon full time in 2017.

In the latest episode of “All Things Video,” Jim and I discuss the early days of online video and the industry’s dramatic evolution over the past decade. When Jim started at Revision3, “YouTube was just one of 40 different online video networks,” he remembers.

His team focused on producing short-form video content and releasing shows on multiple video platforms (most of which no longer exist). What made YouTube unique, according to Jim, was its unique approach to community and monetization: “[YouTube] made it easy to build an audience and connect with that audience,” and “They actually paid people!”

Jim has been transfixed by online video and its impact on the “social media generation” ever since. “They’re the most wired audience in the world,” Jim explains. “They amplify everything with the video that they take.”

VidCon Founder Hank Green shared this ethos, launching the first VidCon in 2010 to bring the online video community together. Jim quickly went from an early VidCon attendee to an acolyte, offering to lead the Industry track in 2014. According to Jim, it’s the fans that make VidCon so special: “This is the only event where your audience is front and center.”

Jim joined VidCon full time in 2017, signing on as CEO to help advance the company’s mission “to democratize the creative economy around the world.”

Since that time, he’s overseen the launch of VidCon’s first international events and led the company’s sale to Viacom in February 2018. During our conversation, Jim also shares his take on TanaCon, the 2018 convention organized by controversial Internet personality Tana Mongeau and billed by some as “the Anti-VidCon.”

Jim considered the event a learning experience for his team, acknowledging that “VidCon is a very family-friendly event” and “we’re not for everybody.” Finally, he offers his predictions for 2019, from LinkedIn and Pinterest investing further into video to augmented reality reaching the peak of inflated expectations and heading toward a crash.

James Creech is the Creator & Host of “All Things Video,” the first podcast dedicated to uncovering the past and charting the future of the online video ecosystem. He is also the co-founder & CEO of Paladin, the essential influencer marketing platform for media companies, brands, and agencies.

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