If you heard the collective grieving shriek of a thousand Instagram influencers, YouTubers, and their followers, it’s because VidCon has been canceled.
It’s the latest mega-event to fall prey to the social distancing measures put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In a statement, the conference organizers said:
VidCon is dedicated to delivering premium entertainment experiences across the globe. Our first priority is the safety and health of our attendees, sponsors, speakers, creators, and staff. Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the precautions being taken by authorities worldwide to manage this pandemic, we have come to the difficult decision to cancel the 11th annual VidCon in Anaheim this June. All tickets and pre-ordered merch that have been purchased for the June 17 – 20, 2020 event will be refunded in full by April 15, 2020. This will include all fees for previously canceled tickets.
VidCon is one of the most important events for the massive entertainment industry that’s grown up around the streaming platforms. Those platforms — specifically YouTube and Instagram — raked in a bit over $35 billion in spending in 2019, or roughly half of the ad haul that television advertising pulled in for the same year.
More than just a chance for entertainers to promote themselves and their products, the event is a critical window into where social media is heading.
In its own way, the event is as important to the streaming community as upfronts are to traditional media, or newfronts are to online media.
The (entirely appropriate) response to the COVID-19 outbreak is one that’s been echoed in industries as disparate as entertainment, technology, and auto manufacturing. Most of the big auto shows have been canceled this year, along with the major developer events from Alphabet subsidiary Google and Facebook. Other events are going remote or turning to virtual only — like Apple’s big developer and product event later this year.