The inaugural VidCon Asia brought together the cream of Asia’s video marketing community. Here are four of the top themes to emerge from the conference.

Pick your platform

If you want to get the most out of your content (or creator partnership), you need to make sure the content you’re putting out is created for the right channel. For that reason, Jack and Jills of all trades are an increasingly rare thing in the creator community. 

As Andi Terrada, founder of influencer agency Uncaffmo, said: “Content creators need to take a step back and think about how they want to present themselves to their fanbase and choose which platform they want to be on.”

During the conference we heard from creators working across established channels like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as the new kid on the block and darling of Gen Z, TikTok. 

All of these platforms offer something different — TikTok is short form (limited to 15 seconds) but can pack a real punch in terms of reach and virality with its highly engaged audience. 

While YouTube used to be the domain of longer-form content Facebook and Instagram content specialists were also keen to point out they are enjoying success with much longer videos now on those platforms, with IGTV and Facebook Watch creating opportunities to engage much deeper connections with audiences and longer formats which were resonating with audiences. 

You can’t ignore the rise of esports

You may wonder where video games and a video conference intersect, but the fact is streaming services such as Twitch have become a honeypot for young audiences, who will spend hours watching their favourite gamers and even spend money to support them. 

So really, video gaming is just a new frontier for content, and opportunity for content creators and advertisers to find real audiences. 

Singapore’s biggest telco, Singtel, is a brand you may not expect to be looking towards esports and video gaming for revenue, but that is exactly what they are doing. And it’s paying off. 

It was something spoken about a few times, with Arthur Lang, CEO of International for the brand, flagging the rise in popularity of the genre in the region and the fact many gamers in these emerging markets are playing on mobile, as most don’t and never have, owned a PC. 

Cindy Tan, head of marketing for Singtel International, elaborated on the strategy, explaining that “230 million Singtel subscribers play games every day”. The question was how to engage them? 

The company went big, creating its own esports platform, PVP, which encompasses content, live streaming and competitions for amateur and professional gamers.This includes a corporate league – with teams from Deloitte and PWC facing off in the final – and professional esports events. 

Tan explains that for Singtel (and its subsidiary brands around the region) this is a content marketing spend first and foremost, aiming to attract those hard-to-reach millennial and Gen Z eyeballs. 

She adds: “Content marketing has always been a marketing spend because direct correlation and ROI are not that quantifiable, but we do know it works. On this side of the fence it’s the holistic experience and 360, always on, content which is proving effective. You can’t achieve that by throwing money at some advertising spots. You need to grow it to give you offline and online consumer participation.” 

All content is born equal

There are more content options than ever before for consumers. The same goes for content creators, media companies and advertisers. 

Traditionally established media companies have focussed on winning eyeballs by pumping massive resources into creating premium content experiences, justifying those huge advertiser investments. But as audiences fragment to different platforms, and the improvements in editing software and cameras, consumers may be noticing less of a difference than they used to.

At least that is the theory of Ajay Viyasagar, who spent 14 years at Indian TV powerhouse STAR, before transitioning to become regional director of YouTube eight years ago. 

Asked what the biggest change had been for him in the industry, he said: “The line between premium produced content and popular content has perished. That’s the biggest learning I’ve had from my migration from TV. The faster we are able to recognise that artificial line doesn’t exist the faster we will be able to adapt to the emerging world of video.”

So whilst content creators need to keep improving the look and feel of their product, TV programmers could learn a thing or two in producing cheaper and socially engaging content from them. 

Creators need to remember their roots

Revenue streams for content creators are a burgeoning area of conversation at the moment, with many selling physical products like t-shirts and other merchandise, as well as digital tokens, to their fans directly. 

However, Carter Media Group founder Courtney Carter described the current era as that of “peak merch,” adding: “I think there’s a fatigue. You need to build a brand that’s more than a t-shirt or a hoodie. If you are not pushing that every day you’re not making enough money anyway.” 

Of course potentially lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals which have become the lifeblood for many of these creators, many of whom are teenagers or in their early 20s. 

But, unfortunately it can sometimes be the case that a combination of youth and sudden access to a lot of money can have some negative behavioural effects. And those kind of transformations can often alienate audiences – and lead people to do dumb or socially irresponsible things which can send the wrong messages to their audiences.

Nas Daily, who has 6.8 million followers on Facebook, called this out on stage: “A lot of the time on YouTube there’s videos like ‘How I lost a million of dollars’ as if that’s a sign of success. The more money I make the less I try to show it because I think it sends the wrong message. There’s a lot of imperfect human beings that get the views – we need to be conscious not to support them.”

Connecting with your audience is nothing new, but being self-aware and also conscious of the message your content is sending to impressionable young minds may be the go-to conversations for creators at VidCon in 2020.