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Creative AI, YouTubeTV and live shopping: top 3 takeaways from VidCon 2023

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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

June 23, 2023 | 7 min read

AI as a creative catalyst; the adoption of live shopping in the US; YouTube coming to a TV screen near you: these are the trends leaders outlined for creators and brands alike at VidCon Anaheim 2023.

colin and samir

YouTubers Colin and Samir discuss the changing creator economy at VidCon2023. / Credit: Audrey Kemp

Years ago, it was almost seen as a joke to pursue a full-time career on YouTube. Nowadays, nobody seems to be laughing, as the creator economy continues to grow and is on track to exceed $200 bn by 2026, per SupplyGem research.

At VidCon Anaheim, industry players identified various trends that will dictate the direction of the creator ecosystem in the coming years. Here are three interesting trends they highlighted.

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AI is a catalyst for creative careers – not a threat.

As chatbots like ChatGPT start to write poetry and generative AIs like Dall-E create images in any style imaginable, many creatives fear that artificial intelligence will soon render their craft useless.

Experts at VidCon say otherwise, suggesting that, once matured, these technologies will more than likely help creative professionals thrive. Take AI-powered video editor Filmora, for example, which leverages artificial intelligence for audio engineering, animation and so on. Jensen Tung, an influencer and entrepreneur, talked about the platform in a panel session on Friday: “Something like this would have been very useful when I was just starting out ... Work smarter, not harder. Giving the tedious stuff to AI helps you as a creator lean more into being creative, like storytelling.”

While Tung championed the human element of storytelling, Andrew Mayne, science communicator at OpenAI, argued that ChatGPT can actually assist in the storytelling process. In a panel session, Mayne suggested that creators should prompt the chatbot to write in the style of their biggest inspirations the next time they sit down to write. “Have the AI pretend to be multiple people … I put Douglas Adams [and] Stephen King … in a room to brainstorm with me and it can imitate those voices really well.”

Viewers are starting to watch YouTube on TV.

For years, small devices, like smartphones, have captivated younger generations far more than television screens. Among this demographic, short-form vertical videos across various platforms took precedent, while long-form videos competed for their attention.

In recent months, this has started to change, according to Various VidCon speakers, who noted that viewers have started to stream longform YouTube videos on their long neglected TVs instead. YouTube has embraced this trend by launching streaming service YouTubeTV (and by displaying a large YouTubeTV banner at the NBA finals this year).

“When we are analyzing this sector, we think about where consumers are spending their time and how that has evolved. Now, half of time spent on YouTube is on big screen televisions,” Rich Greenfield, co-founder and general partner, LightShed Ventures, said in a panel session on Thursday. “[YouTube] cares about big screen devices in a way they never did in the early days; it was all about phones and laptops. Now, they recognize that it’s an all-out war for time.”

As eyeballs move from the phone screen to the TV, a resurgance of long-form video content is beginning to take hold, rivaling short-form videos across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube. “As content gets shorter and shorter, content is also getting longer, specifically [content] that feels more like TV,” noted Colin Rosenblum, creator and co-host of YouTube show Colin and Samir, in a panel on Thursday. “[YouTuber] Ben of the Week is creating 45-minute documentaries in a lo-fi, low-cost way. Viewers are not watching these videos on their phones. Soon, we will wonder, who are the creators making content for the laid back TV experience?”

Live shopping is finally coming to the United States.

Live shopping, described as a way to buy goods in real-time via a brand or creator’s livestream, first emerged in China in the 2010s. By 2020, the market grew to a $171 bn, per McKinsey reports. In spite of live shopping’s success overseas, only a handful of American brands (like Amazon and Poshmark) have begun to embrace this market.

“The whole [live shopping] industry is a little bit bigger in China than it actually is in the United States, and the banks there take it a little more seriously,” said Eric Wei, co-chief executive of creator finance company Karat Financial, in a panel session. “We like to think the United States are pretty cutting edge, but in some areas, we are a little behind. This is an example of that.”

Some marketers might fear that live shopping might work in Asia, but not in the United States. Data from livestream and social commerce platform Orca suggests that clickthrough rates (CTRs) might hold an answer to this question. Traditional ecommerce has a clickthrough rate between 0.5% and 2.5%, while livestreams have a click-through rate of up to 10.5%.

The answer for this difference is simple. As stated by Max Benator, Orca’s chief executive officer: “A standard product or webpage is 25-year-old technology. Its not engaging. It’s not interactive.“

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