Kids don’t watch TV anymore; they watch YouTube instead. This statement is becoming common in many countries worldwide and Finland is not an exception: recent data show that 18% of Finns between 15 and 39 years of age watch YouTube every day.
The national YouTube community is in a continuous growth: 357 YouTube channels have more than 10,000 subscribers and 45 channels have got over 100,000 subscribers. Most of these channels are Finnish-speaking. Victor Potrel from YouTube HQ in London said that such a large community for a language of 5.5 million speakers is a unique phenomenon for the online video platform.
These channels represent a wide offer of diverse content. Video creators are developing a strong engagement with their audiences both through their videos and through social media profiles. “Is like meeting a friend”, Potrel said.
This strong engagement is what made Tubecon a reality: in 2013, some of the most successful Finnish YouTube creators were setting regular meet-ups with their fans, but when attendance to these informal gatherings was reaching 2,000 people, they realized that there is a need for a more structured event allowing a larger capacity. Tubecon was on the making.
The creators contacted producers with experience of media and events and, always in control of the decision-making over the event’s content, the producers gave them a more structured support on what an event like this represents in terms of production, security, logistics and press & media relations. Tubecon 2014 gathered over 5,000 people and the figure doubled to 10,000 attendants at Tubecon 2015 last Saturday, 15 August 2015, at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.
YouTube creators and their fans gathered around the hockey arena and the Hartwall corridors. Surprisingly quiet teenagers – especially quiet if you compare them to Spanish teens – queued to get an autograph from or a selfie with their idols. There were creators like Susanne (Pahalapsi), part-time vlogger & part-time baker, or the Stunt Freaks Team, who employ a team of around 20 people with their extreme sports videos. Among the audiences, you could meet Santeri (17) – who proudly showed his notebook full of autographs – Paju (13), Anna (13), Havu (9) and Urpu (6), who travelled all the way from Kuhmoinen, in Western Finland, only to attend Tubecon.
Photos: Oriol Salvador Vilella, Mohammed Alfaraj
More pictures from Tubecon can be found on Oriol’s personal blog.