Hollywood should pay attention when superfans communicate with one another.
The entertainment industry is increasingly dependent on the superfan demographic, the built-in fans that make it realistic for a studio to take a nine-figure swing on a movie or TV leisure franchise. For VidCon, the annual meeting for fans of YouTubers, TikTokers, Twitch personalities, and other digital and social media extensions of the media, I traveled to Anaheim last week.
you’ll find die-hard fans willing to part with their hard-earned cash in order to attend a 4-day conference
In this group, you’ll find die-hard fans willing to part with their hard-earned cash in order to attend a 4-day conference packed with panels and other opportunities for personal interaction. I had a feeling that these would be the most important discussions I’d have all year in terms of learning about the future of entertainment. I used to be a person who had no doubts.
It’s a situation that which this generation and their older siblings avoid watching old-school television. I wanted to hear directly from some of the most ardent fans of this new breed of video content that’s fueling the social media and YouTube machines. TikTookay and other smartphone apps have superseded television viewing for an era that has never known a world without cellphones. Are they watching during primetime? In what ways do they discover new individuals? How do they manage their social media accounts?
I chatted with ten small groups of VidCon participants who were chosen at random from the Anaheim Convention Center
Wow, I’m speechless. I chatted with ten small groups of VidCon participants who were chosen at random from the Anaheim Convention Center. To be clear: This is by no means an accurate representation of reality. Each club had its own niche of esoteric fandom that they were dedicated to.
One thing that Hollywood should be aware of is that every gang had the same thing in common: Most of what they “consume” is produced and monetized exclusively outside of the mainstream entertainment conglomerates that dominate conventional TV and film. In this universe, the creators—and yes, that’s what they are widely referred to, creators—are actively supported through products and direct subscription sales.
This new generation of consumers wants a very different form of relationship from their favorite creators, and Hollywood has to understand this at this point in time. In addition, they had been generous with their time and eager to share their media consumption habits with us.
Here are a few examples:
The difference between watching TV and using TikTookay is as follows:
18-year-old Jamie from Minneapolis: “Well with TV, you know, you turn on a show and you like it and maybe towards the end of the day, you find yourself falling asleep. Because you just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling on TikTok, it’s definitely different. And before you know it, it’s 3 a.m. And you’re still glued to TikTok,” he says.
As to the allure of following internet-based producers versus TV shows:
You’re witnessing these artists put their own personality and their own person that they want to express themselves rather than watching a TV show where you’d see an actor portraying someone else’s character.” Bryn, a 19-year-old from Southern California, agrees. Because of this, I believe it is simpler to fall in love with the person for who they truly are. In addition, I appreciate what they have to offer the world. That, in my opinion, is pretty fantastic.
Regarding the relevance of the fan community that forms around creators, the following is to be said:
As a result, “it becomes like, just a really big community because then you meet other people via it, like other people that watch the same stuff,” 19-year-old Khalia from Colorado says. As a result, you meet some of your closest friends. After that, you’re eager to meet the folks who created the items that brought such joy to your life. So you’re all, “Let me tell you that you made me happy.”
When it comes to finding new artists to follow:
‘I guess you only see one video or one compilation of them,” says Emma, an 18-year-old Minneapolis resident. And you simply find them. Like, their social media profiles. …and then it’s a domino effect from there. Do you see what I mean? As time goes on, you visit more and more locations. And that’s how you wind up here [at VidCon],” he said.
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VidCon 2022 will have a panel discussion with web developers on June 23, 2022.
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