Phil DeFranco has been described by at least one person on the internet as a kind of Jon Stewart of YouTube. It’s not a bad comparison!
Stewart tends to be more political and DeFranco leans a little more pop, but the same way Stewart is at the helm of an Award-winning writing staff predominately comprised of Ivy League-educated Jews, which works to disseminate news of current events with a sometimes sardonic, sometimes reverent tone and always informative perspective to left-of-center-leaning Comedy Central-watching Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, DeFranco is at the head of, and behind a burgeoning YouTube network, which works to disseminate news of current events with a sometimes sardonic, sometimes reverent tone and always informative perspective to an audience of generally receptive YouTube-watching Gen Yers.
In terms of audience, The Daily Show averages 1.7 million viewers per episode and supplies a not insignificant percentage of young Americans with a significant portion of their news. DeFranco gets somewhere in the ballpark of 950,000 views per video and is considered a quotable news source by at least one academic.
If the above couple paragraphs don’t sell you on the DeFranco-is-kinda-like-a-new-media-Stewart similarities, than maybe watching a little bit of SourceFed will.
Based on DeFranco’s blog experiment of the same name, SourcFed is part of the multi-million dollar YouTube originals initiative and is sorta self-deprecatingly-described as “everything that should and shouldn’t matter to you explained and broken apart by people who vomit words.” Or, in more clear terms, SourceFed is a YouTube channel that produces, uploads, and distributes a handful of original web series, including its flagship show 20 Minutes or Less. 20 Minutes or Less is an online original program comprised of multiple single-news-subject daily videos (ranging in subject matter from the Newt Gingrich promise of a moon base to Minecraft) shot in the “candid, fun, and familiar DeFranco style.”
It’s how I imagine The Daily Show would look if it released news segments as news broke instead of at 11PM EST, targeted teens instead of twenty and thirtysomethings, and used frenetic edits and an upbeat soundtrack instead of traditional newscaster production techniques and a live studio audience. That is to say, SourceFed is fast, elucidative, and fun to watch.
I caught up with DeFranco to ask him about SourceFed, how he found his fantastic co-hosts, and what it’s like producing a helluva lot of videos every single day.
Tubefilter: I love me some Phil DeFranco, but I’m also loving these other hosts on SourceFed. Who are they and where’d you find them?
Phil DeFranco: Well the hosts are really what make this channel and the new studio a fun, special, and interesting place. We’ve launched with five full time hosts. Myself, Joe Bereta, Lee Newton, Elliott Morgan, and Kevin Brueck. In two months we will begin splicing in our part time hosts to see how the audience reacts to them, but for now what you see is what you get. Here’s a breakdown:
- I’ve been a fan of Joe Bereta since my early days on YouTube and was ecstatic when he showed interest in being a part of SourceFed. I think people will really like the opinionated side of Joe.
- Lee Newton and Elliot Morgan came into casting and I instantly fell in love with them. One of the best things about casting is finding people you think are way better than yourself and just need the spotlight.
- Kevin Brueck is the host of our interactive “Man on the Street” weekend game show and also he says he can bench press 300 lbs so that has to count for something I guess.
Tubefilter: Is 20 Minutes or Less the main and only event on SourceFed or the first of many programs?
PD: 20 Minutes or Less is our staple show. Several 2-4 minute videos a day all connected via playlist (though never more than 20 minutes total) that inform, entertain, and most importantly start a conversation.
Curb Cash is an interactive game show that tests your pop culture knowledge. People on the street get quizzed but the fun part is for the people at home who get to test themselves and if they make it to the final video then maybe they get the grand prize.
One on One is our twice a month interview show. Whether you’re famous on the internet, a musician, or in summer blockbusters its an even playing field. I wanted a place where we get to hang out with people and have some fun with them while we get to know them better. Whether you’re iJustine or Ryan Gosling its all the same to us.
Tubefilter: How is it producing such a large quantity of timely videos on any given weekday?
PD: Production was the most daunting task when I was coming up with SourceFed. Luckily we had a great core team to put everything and everyone on rails to maximize video production. Without James Haffner (SourceFed‘s Producer), Dani Rosenberg (Production Coordinator) and the three weeks of filming test episodes before launch this could not be possible.
The non-romanticized explanation of production on SourceFed goes a little something like this: Arrive at 7. Jump into a meeting and discuss first story of the day. Finish filming first story by 8am. If possible film the second video within 30 minutes so when the other editor arrives he is under less time constraint. Finish the first video and upload it by 10am (We have our editors aim at a 2 hour turnaround time). Post every 90-120 minutes if the stories are there, but if its a slow news day don’t try to make a story out of nothing.
Also if you make a bad video I punch you in the face. Rules are rules.