Last month at VidCon, an annual gathering of almost 30,000 video creators and fans at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, every major player in social media announced new initiatives to embrace the next generation of viral video makers. Instagram showed off a feature that would let followers access a livestream for up to 24 hours. YouTube announced a production tool called VR180 that makes it easy for people to create and share 3-D videos in 180 degrees. (All you need is one of the special cameras due later this year from LG, Lenovo, and YI Technology.) And Facebook unveiled updates to its Mentions app, which lets creators apply effects to their live videos and connect more easily with followers. The titans of social media were courting creators, not the other way around, in hopes of expanding their audience engagement through must-see video content.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that vlogging is becoming a big business. Though many vloggers make only $20 a day (barely more than $7,000 a year), the most successful are raking in as much as $7 million annually. One especially successful vlogger who often plays in the travel space, Casey Neistat, even built a spinoff app to help creators share their videos, then sold it to CNN last November for $25 million as part of the network’s push to compete with YouTube.