Digital Studio

5 MINUTES WITH

- “WE STRONGLY BELIEVE IN THE DEMOCRATIS­ATION OF THE CREATIVE ECONOMY” JIM LOUDERBACK, GENERAL MANAGER, VIDCON

Jim Louderback, general manager, VidCon Abu Dhabi

DS: What is VidCon?

VidCon is the world’s largest event for fans, creators, executives and brands who are passionate about online video and building diverse communitie­s. It was founded by veteran YouTube creators John and Hank Green ( Vlogbrothe­rs) and was later acquired by Viacom (now ViacomCBS) in 2018. The festival has been running from 2010, when it was launched in the USA: since then, VidCon has continued to grow, expanding globally with editions in Australia, the UK and Asia with upcoming events this year also in Mexico and Abu Dhabi. VidCon Abu Dhabi is organized in partnershi­p with The Department of Culture And Tourism — Abu Dhabi: the partnershi­p will bring the conference for the creator and online video community to Abu Dhabi for the next 5 years.

DS: What will the programme include for the region?

VidCon a festival, summit and a conference. VidCon Abu Dhabi will bring that unique blend of content to Abu Dhabi, providing attendees with Q& As, meet and greet, workshops, conference­s, events and much more tailored to their specific interests. The Community Track is a fan-first festival that connects fans with their favorite online video creators and fellow fans across parties, panels, concerts, meet and greets and more. The Creator Track conference, from Thursday March 26th to Saturday, March 28th, is where top creators and industry experts educate and inspire emerging online video creators about how to create better videos and build a lasting social media brand. The Industry Track summit brings top executives and experts from the digital and entertainm­ent industries together to discuss the state of the online video industry, and build strategies, insights, and alliances to ensure lasting success for all members of the entertainm­ent and digital ecosystem.

DS: We have seen event festivals such as Vidxb and On. Dxb held in the UAE, how will VidCon Abu Dhabi differ from them?

VidCon is all about celebratin­g video and community media by bringing together the world’s top creators, fans, industry experts and media. No other event brings these constituen­cies together to both celebrate and chart the course for online video’s present and future. In addition, we bring a focus on helping new and emerging online and social video creators make better videos, build their brand and ultimately find success in this new era of community-led direct to consumer media. In the Middle East there are many young people who use online video to connect with others like themselves, find and create new forms of entertainm­ent and express their hopes, dreams and passion.

DS: What opportunit­ies does VidCon Abu Dhabi hold for local talents?

VidCon offers amazing experience for local creators. We strongly believe in the democratis­ation of the creative economy, and thus we bring global and regional creators together in a shared space to collaborat­e, connect and celebrate their talent, vision and experience. And for the top creators from the Middle East, they will be able to connect with top creators worldwide to build connection­s, collaborat­e and share insight — and build life-long friendship­s that will expand and embrace the globalisat­ion of online video. The Middle East is a vibrant hub for content creators, with millions of young people turning to online video to connect with others, creating compelling content, building audiences and finding entertainm­ent, so we are excited for VidCon to highlight the impact of those creators, the digital community and the industry.

DS: VidCon will be hosted in Abu Dhabi for the next five years, what can we expect to unfold over the next editions?

VidCon will continue to both mirror, extend and expand the online video industry as we have over the last 11 years. We started as just a YouTubefoc­used event, but evolved over the past ten years. In 2025 many of the top online-video centric businesses – and top creators — in the Middle East will owe at least a bit of their success to what they learned and the connection­s

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