Time for this week’s 5 Questions With…, featuring Phil DeFranco, a YouTube star who regularly tops the Most Viewed page with his fast-paced video commentaries. DeFranco’s much more than a vlogger, though — as the CEO of DeFranco, Inc., he and his partners have expanded his brand to both independent original shows as well as an interactive series in partnership with a major Hollywood producer. Below, Phil talks about the power of being an Internet personality, how he manages to keep up with his own YouTube channel as well as his other projects, and his modest roots.
1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?
Holding back the industry? Nothing. If it doesn’t work, it’s because you aren’t trying hard enough or you don’t know the right people. We have the least restrictions of any medium, so to say something is holding us back is just an excuse. Many people will say funding, but I’ve made everything I have starting with a $30 webcam. You darn kids these days!!! *shakes fist*
2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?
Transmedia. It just sounds weird and most of the people using it are talking about it in a hypothetical sense. No offense to the trannies out there.
3. If someone gave you $50 million to invest in a company in this space, which one would it be? (Mentioning your own doesn’t count.)
That’s a hard one for me, but I would invest that money in one of the tools I already use, whether its the Blippys, Dailybooths, or pretty much anything else.
I can’t pinpoint any one service. People fail to realize the power of an Internet personality, especially an honest one. If I use a service and enjoy it, I might as well start investing in the ones I really believe in because I’m going to get my audience involved and we make things popular. It didn’t start as a marketing model, but it turned out me liking stuff is one.
4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?
Reckless Tortuga. That guy/those guys/whoever is involved make me giggle. Most of the stuff I watch on YouTube is video game related.
5. WILD-CARD: Over the last few years, you’ve evolved your brand online from the typical YouTube channel to a thriving production company behind projects like Like Totally Awesome and Cute Win Fail. What inspired you to push beyond traditional vlog-style commentary, and what have you found to be key in keeping all your different projects sustainable?
If there is any one truth in our industry it is that if you are not growing you are dying. I mean that in viewership, production value, properties, and revenue.
I realized after I started LTA that I could only stretch myself so far. I mean I had 400k+ subscribers on that channel, but I also had 2 other channels that were far more popular. I was making 12+ videos a week and that just wasn’t sustainable. So rather than dropping LTA, I started putting people on the projects. Too many people at first, then too few, until I started to realize how many people it takes for each property to remain profitable and more importantly GOOD.
As far as why the different formats, I just get bored easily and the vlog format only works with certain personalities. But if there is any one thing that keeps me making new shows, giving channels their start, and producing good content it is that I love cool things and want to share them with people. And I bust my ass to do so.
Want to meet Phil DeFranco in person? Well, he’s one of our featured speakers at this year’s NewTeeVee Live! If you don’t already have your ticket, now’s definitely the time to fix that.
Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required):