By Evan DeSimone
With attendance expected to top 20,000 for a three-day program of events ranging from fan-creator meet and greets to fireside chats with power executives, VidCon 2015 can seem overwhelming. To help you make sense of the chaos, Video Ink’s staff has poured over the VidCon agenda to single out the events that will define the next year for creators, viewers and industry professionals alike.
Here Is VI’s VidCon Must-Hit-List:
Thursday, July 23rd
Fireside Chat with Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO RTL Group, led by Jocelyn Johnson
9:35 am — 9:55 am — The Ballroom
The RTL Group spent the better part of the last year betting big on the online video space. With a controlling stake in Freemantle Media and beauty of lifestyle focused network StyleHaul as well as a significant investment in BroadbandTV, RTL is positioned to both anticipate and shape the future of the online video ecosystem. Find out how CEO Guillaume de Posch sees that future in a fireside chat hosted by VideoInk founder Jocelyn Johnson.
Fireside Chat with Ze Frank, president of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, and Katie Couric, global news anchor, Yahoo
10:15 am — 10:35 am — The Ballroom
Ze Frank, sometimes credited as the inventor of the modern vlog format, will expand on his plans for Buzzfeed Motion Pictures and share how the fast growing media brand aims to conquer the world of online video.
Katie Couric is the famous face of Yahoo’s big push into online video news. Expect the anchor to share her insights into the changing media landscape, the convergence of new and legacy media, and the ways that Yahoo plans to disrupt the video news paradigm.
Fireside Chat with Baljeet Singh, product director and head of media, TV & video at Twitter, and Tim Peterson, digital media reporter for Ad Age
10:45 am — 11:05 am — The Ballroom
While Facebook has surged ahead in video, Twitter has been quietly experimenting with how to both deliver content and traffic to video from content partners. Over the last year, the micro-blogging platform has dabbled in integrating video into its news feed and expanded the range of video tools available to its advertising partners. In addition to discussing these innovations, Singh may reveal plans for the future of Twitter-owned video platforms Vine, which has proven its ability to generate revenue for content creators, and the recently-launched Periscope, which is making waves in piracy circles.
Fireside Chat with Jim Lanzone, president and CEO of CBS Interactive, and Jim Louderback, VidCon
11:05 am — 11:25 am
Last year, CBS became the first of the big three major broadcast networks to jump on the streaming bandwagon with its own streaming VOD service, CBS All Access. This spring, CBS’s digital arm, CBS Interactive launched Studio 61, focusing on custom branded content for marketers hoping to target an online video audience. Find out how CBS is embracing the opportunities presented by streaming video, both in terms of content and commercial gain.
Keynote with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki
4:45 pm — 5:30 pm — The Ballroom
YouTube typically holds back at least a few of its biggest announcements for the online video faithful assembled at VidCon. Recently, YouTube Chief Susan Wojcicki has been opening up about the rising threat of competitors like Facebook and Vessel. When asked if she worried about YouTube’s homegrown creators jumping ship, she reminded her interviewer that, for video makers, “YouTube is home.” Expect Wojcicki to remind the creator-heavy VidCon audience of where their roots are. We can also anticipate some word on YouTube’s long awaited music service, Music Key, whose greatest strength, Wojcicki has said, will be the wealth of original music content created by YouTubers. Finally, the world’s largest online video conference would also be the perfect opportunity to put a launch date on YouTube’s ad-free subscription option which was announced earlier this year.
Mergers/Acquisitions — What is the World Like Today?
12:30 pm — 1:30 pm
The online video landscape is changing faster than ever, as major media conglomerates flood the space looking to acquire their way into the sector. Content and technology-based start-ups no sooner launch than they are acquired, opening the door to both opportunity and rapid innovation. Moderator Mark Terbeek of Greycroft Partners will discuss the acquisition landscape with leaders from some of today’s leading online video content publishers, including AwesomnessTV, DramaFever, StyleHaul and Otter Media.
The Rise of the Vertical and Alternative-MCN
3:30 pm — 4:30 pm — Room 304CD
In some circles, the term “MCN” has become a dirty word, but that hasn’t stopped dozens of video start-up founders from trying to build their own. With expansive multi-vertical MCNs like Maker Studios, Fullscreen and Collective Digital Studios exiting the market through acquisition by major media conglomerates, are we living in the age of the alternative single-vertical MCN? Sahil Patel of Digiday leads a panel of executives from Grapevine, Narativ and Whistle Sports in a discussion of the role of MCNs’ in the new online video economy.
Friday, July 24th
Options For Branching Out From YouTube
3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
Options for digital creators have expanded dramatically and Youtube is no longer the only source of revenue for online video influencers. Digital talent manager Sarah Weichel will host a discussion of new platforms and new opportunities, from publishing and music to live streaming. The panel will include Kathleen Grace (chief creative officer of New Form Digital), Judith Curr (president and publisher of Simon & Schuster imprint Keywords Press), Jo Garrett (CEO of DFTBA Records) and Yonatan Sela (director of product & growth strategy at YouNow).
Using Facebook to Generate Web Video Revenue
3:50 pm — 4:10 pm
Facebook’s rapid rise in online video has captured the attention of creators and advertisers alike. Jumpwire Media president Gavin McGarry will share strategies for generating revenue from Facebook video outside of Facebook’s proposed monetization scheme.
Saturday, July 25th
360 VR Content Q&A with BrandonJLa
11:00 am — 12:00 pm — Room 206
Brandon Laatsch (a.k.a. BrandonJLA) — co-creator of StressLevelZero, Node, and the freddiew channel — will present some of the latest advances in 360-Video and Virtual Reality technology. The discussion will center around the ways in which content creators and brands can become early adopters in the virtual video space.