The growth of Viacom's presence in the digital media market has taken another step forward, following the company's acquisition of an annual event centered around the global online content community called VidCon. That's according to an announcement made by the company on February 7 via its official website. For those who may not already be aware, VidCon is an annual conference event aimed at online video communities – both creators and audiences – such as those found on YouTube. Unfortunately, no financial details were provided along with the announcement but the company says that VidCon will maintain its independence as a stand-alone entity. Instead of being incorporated, the acquisition will allow Viacom to expand on its previous efforts to focus on live events and next-generation media platforms.
While the company is probably most well-known as the entity behind popular networks and media companies such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount, or Comedy Central, the move actually makes quite a bit of sense. Over the past several months, Viacom has been taking a particular interest in live events and digital media. Most recently, those efforts have included the introduction of Comedy Central's ClusterFest, BET Experience, and Paramount Network's Bellator MMA event. Viacom also recently acquired a marketing firm called WHOSAY to further help promote its events. VidCon is not likely to become the biggest event owned by Viacom – with 30,000 attendees and just over 80 sponsors. That honor currently belongs to the BET Experience event, mentioned before. However, it is still significant and will almost certainly ultimately benefit both VidCon and Viacom – although exactly how big that benefit is, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, VidCon's offices will remain in Missoula, Montana. Moreover, although the company's leadership will now report to Viacom, VidCon will still be led by the CEO Jim Louderback and co-founder Hank Green. Viacom's role in the company will, according to the announcement, be to provide more resources and a larger platform for VidCon – rather than to interfere with VidCon's goals to keep online video content and communities democratized. VidCon also won't be forced giving up its partnerships with other agencies that help the event gain visibility or coverage.