John Green: ‘I Haven’t Slept in My Own Bed in Months’

By Chris Ariens 

Ahead of tomorrow’s premiere of Paper Towns, the second John Green book-to-flim adaptation, the best-selling author put on his other hat this morning: as co-founder, with his brother Hank, of VidCon. The 20,000-strong conference is now a destination for digital video creators, fans and, increasingly, brands who want in on the action.

“There are more people at his conference today than the largest YouTube page had subscribers in 2006,” said Green in his opening keynote. Green, who has been on the road promoting Paper Towns, returned to the Anaheim Convention Center to kick things off. “I haven’t slept in my own bed in months,” he joked

Related: 10 Viral Content Creators Who Electrify Fans by the Millions

He said that in 2007, when he began producing vlogs, “I could never have believed the term online video would be redundant, because all video is online.”

Green says online video is, proudly, a distraction. “I want to be distracted. I’m not here to tell you distractions are bad.”

As for monetizing video, Green says his company saw an 18 percent drop in ad revenue. “And it drops every year.” But because his viewers are more engaged, there are more ways to make money. From selling t-shirts to receiving grants, there’s more to online video monetization than ads, he says.

“Advertising needs to change dramatically,” he said. “An Internet that answers to users is better than an Internet that answers to brands.”

Lost Remote and Adweek will be covering the conference over the next few days so look for our coverage.