Since it launched in January, the Philip DeFranco-created YouTube channel SourceFed has risen to be one of the fastest growing premium channels in digital entertainment. SourceFed has been so incredibly successful that the channel will most likely hit 500,000 subscribers by the time you read this sentence. Half a million subscribers in seven short months is no small feat, especially in the face of the hundreds of currently failing premium YouTube channels. We caught up with SourceFed’s creator Philip DeFranco and asked what makes his channel stand out above other premium content. He had this to say:
“An understanding of the YouTube and Internet audience’s appetite for fast, short, and funny bits of infotainment. Or better put we make content we all want to watch. The moment we feel like we didn’t enjoy the whole day we address it and rework. Luckily I have a team of hosts that really get that.“
When asked if he had a strategy for driving SourceFed to the million-subscriber mark, DeFranco explained that he plans to “Stay the course for the most part and test things/segments that keep it fun and fresh.”
SourceFed would never exist if not for DeFranco and his vision, however much of the show’s success also comes from its roster of incredibly talented hosts. I was able to catch up with “20 Minutes or Less” hosts Lee Newton, Elliott Morgan, Joe Bereta, Steve Zaragoza and SourceFed’s producer/director James Haffner to talk about joining the 500k club, working with DeFranco and getting Steve naked.
Why has SourceFed stood out above the rest of the YouTube premium channels that seem to be failing?
Steve Zaragoza: I would say it’s definitely not us [laughs]. We have a team of professional editors and creators and very talented people that make the show look really great. I think that, first, it’s the production values that kind of set us above some of the other shows, and secondly, you know, it’s these beautiful faces right here, right? I am looking at a photo of J. Lo, that’s who I was talking about.
Lee Newton: I think we lucked out having a team of hosts that really got along very well and had Phil’s vision, and we’re able to piggyback on that really quickly because he has such a clear vision, and he knew exactly what he wanted and such a concise idea of what he wanted and then having four people who really like each other and who can write really well. It was just energy. It was a collaboration that really started to take off.
Elliot Morgan: I think another huge part is the fact that we have fans that we had to win over. We had the built-in fanbase of Phil, but then it kind of grew into its own thing. I think we just generated a community of people who we try to interact with as much as possible. It makes a big difference.
How much of Phil’s experience on YouTube and as an entertainer goes into creating SourceFed?
Joe Bereta: I think Phil came to us with an original vision of what he wanted for the channel and gave us a great direction for how he wanted us to present the news. He took our talents and even stretched them a little further, so we would talk about our opinions and not be afraid to take a side, which humanizes you when you are just a guy or girl on a computer screen. I think Phil pulled that out of us. We are just a team that works really well together, and with our vision combined with Phil’s vision it made a really fun channel.
Did you expect to hit 500,000 subscribers in seven months?
James Haffner: We definitely didn’t from the start. We received such a good following and reaction from the community. It was amazing. So, we definitely knew we had something good and were on the right trajectory. But you never know if that is going to stop or plateau or explode, but we saw a really strong consistent increase in subscribers day after day as well as a growth in views. More importantly, we saw a really strong engagement from our viewers.
Now that you have hit 500k, what is the plan to hit one million subscribers?
James: I think we are going to start a traveling band, and Steve is going to take his clothes off, I think.
Steve: There is an overwhelming need to see me naked from where we’re coming from. The fans have said it. I don’t know if you guys have read it, but I have definitely read it, and the fans request it, so it’s going to happen.
Joe: Steve, you wrote that fan mail. It was signed “Steve.” We got overwhelming requests from Steve.
Steve: All right, guys. You know what? You are just ruining it.
Lee: It is the nude Steve for sure. But a serious answer, I guess, would be that I get naked [laughs]. I guess for us our main enjoyment out it is the fact that we get to work with people that we love and respect, and I guess just continue to produce quality videos for our fans. I think we love our viewers just as much as they love us, if not more.