Two of the online video industry’s most revered veterans, Hank Green and Philip DeFranco, convened at VidCon yesterday for a one-on-one conversation, in which the two creators waxed poetic about yesteryear while also discussing some of the biggest challenges facing the space today.
DeFranco, who has been particularly vocal about the ways in which the YouTube ‘Adpocalypse’ has impacted revenues on his channel — especially because he frequently discusses hot-button topics — said that there are “other levers to pull” in terms of monetization that creators aren’t taking advantage of for fear of audience blowback. DeFranco, in some ways, is leading this charge with the forthcoming launch of his crowdfunded news network.
And while DeFranco says he understands that YouTube’s concessions to advertisers serve its own greater vision, he likens the company to a crazy business partner. “And when you have a crazy partner, it makes you unstable,” he said.
Green, for his part, says that working with brands has often inspired him to think on a more entrepreneurial plabe. Rather than creating ads for other companies and pocketing a fee, he said, he has often thought about creating his own businesses to maximize the value of his hard-earned platform.
Finally, despite being pioneers in new media, both creators expressed that they were beginning to feel a little old at this year’s VidCon gathering. (Green is 37, while DeFranco is 31). “This is the first year where I’ve felt like I’m old media,” Green laughed, joking that he was starting to empathize with Comcast. Keeping up with new platforms can be particularly trying. One of the downfalls of being so successful on one platform, Green explained, is that it makes you too busy to master new ones. He has yet, for instance, to fully immerse himself in the world of Musical.ly.
Similarly, DeFranco acknowledged that a new class of creators seems to be gaining massive traction today — many of whom emerged from the world Vine. At the end of the day, however, DeFranco said he relishes his status as one of YouTube’s elder statesmen, and says he still feels more motivated and agile than ever.