July 16, 2012

YouTube & News

Philip Franchina–A YouTube Phenomenon

One other individual who stood out among these more viewed videos was Philip Franchina, better known by his stage name Philip DeFranco. He is an American video blogger (known as vlogging), who rose to popularity with low-tech, sarcastic videos consisting primarily of monologues directed toward the camera.

DeFranco’s popularity is not as a newsmaker himself, but because people wanted to hear his opinions on contemporary topics of the day in his self-produced videos. Those topics run the gamut from pop culture to politics.

According to the latest statistics report by VidStatsX, DeFranco’s channel, named "sxephil," is the 16th most subscribed to channel on YouTube, with more than 2 million subscribers and over 920 millions views. DeFranco started his broadcasts in September 2006 during finals at East Carolina University. In his video blogs, he talks about a wide range of topics such as current events, politics, technology, entertainment and music. DeFranco produces as many as five videos a week, which generally run between five and eight minutes long.  DeFranco is also a member of YouTube’s Partner Program, which allows the most viewed YouTubers to earn money through advertisements placed on the same pages as their videos.[1]

For the first half of 2011, nine of his videos were among the most watched news clips. One of the most popular videos was DeFranco’s January 12 monologue on former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Apple and truTV. (Warning, the video contains adult language.) A month later on the February 7 edition, he gave his opinions about Super Bowl commercials, AOL’s acquisition of the Huffington Post and the flu vaccine among other subjects.

In June 2011, DeFranco switched the tag of his vlogs from "news & politics" to "entertainment," thus taking them out of the news ranking. (The person who posts the videos determines how they are categorized. If DeFranco had continued his tagging as a news video, more of his videos would likely have appeared on this list.) A few observers, such as Robert Slonaker of Yahoo! Voices, have credited DeFranco’s success to the way he mixes humor with information and to his videos’ fast-paced format.


Footnote

[1] In addition to the "PhilipDeFranco" channel, DeFranco has another channel named "Vloggity," in which he posts daily videos of himself discussing his mundane life, and his blogging website called PhillyD.tv. And in January 2012 he launched a new channel, SourceFed, which is part of the multi-million dollar YouTube originals initiative.

Cite this publication: Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project Staff. “YouTube & News.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (July 16, 2012) http://www.journalism.org/2012/07/16/youtube-news/, accessed on July 22, 2014.