Philip James DeFranco Jr. (born Philip James Franchini/Franchina Jr., December 1, 1985), is an American video blogger and YouTube personality. He is most notable for The Philip DeFranco Show, usually abbreviated as PDS, a news show centered on current events, politics, pop culture, and celebrity gossip in which he voices his opinion, often presented in a satirical manner and with frequent jump cuts to create a fast-paced feel. He uploads this show on a Monday through Thursday schedule on his primary channel, Philip DeFranco (registered as sxephil). In 2016, he began to add weekend content, including The Friday Show, NSFW Saturday, and Sunday Funday. His network of channels has over two billion views, and over six million total subscribers, with his primary channel having accumulated over 4 million subscribers and 1.6 billion views, as of September 2016. DeFranco registered his sxephil YouTube channel in 2006. Early into his YouTube career, his audience led to his winning of various open access online polls. DeFranco also created various other YouTube channels, including Philly D (registered as PhilipDeFranco), a personal vlog and behind the scenes channel, and SourceFed, a Google-funded YouTube Original Channel focused on news and pop culture. SourceFed spawned a spinoff channel, SourceFed Nerd. In 2013, DeFranco sold his channels to Discovery Digital Networks. Since then DeFranco has been involved in launching ForHumanPeoples, a channel based on his merchandise line of the same name, which then transitioned to a sketch channel called Nuclear Family. He also helped launch Super Panic Frenzy, a gaming channel featuring other personalities signed by Discovery Digital, as well as TheDeFrancoFam, a family vlogging channel featuring his wife and son.
Philip Franchini was born in The Bronx, New York City. He has a stepmother who works at a car dealership. As a child, he attended St. Philip Neri's School. In his first semester of community college, he and his mother shared an English class together; the class was informed of the situation halfway through the semester by the lecturer. He has been a student at the University of South Florida, a biology student at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, and later a junior at East Carolina University. In 2007, Phil was living in Florida, and later Atlanta. He also worked as a waiter in a number of restaurants while making videos in 2007. DeFranco lived in a car until moving back with his father in Tampa, Florida, on condition that he would return to college, which he later failed to do.
2006–2011: Beginnings on YouTube
DeFranco began his YouTube career during his finals at East Carolina University when he created his sxephil YouTube channel, calling it The Philip DeFranco Show, in which he talks about "newsie type stuff, and things that matter to [him] today."
Before the YouTube partner program was available, he asked for donations from his viewers after claiming to have run out of money, and selling everything except his Mac, camera, and clothes, and overdrawing his bank account so he could spend a night in a hotel as he found it too scary sleeping in a car in Brooklyn.
There are approximately 70 old videos that are unlisted or private as DeFranco finds them too embarrassing.
An online viewer census from 2007 showed that one-third of his viewers were 16- and 17-year-old girls. In the same year, DeFranco opened his second YouTube channel, "PhilipDeFranco", which includes a series of vlogs which he calls "The Vloggity".
In August 2007, DeFranco conducted an experiment by uploading a video titled "Big Boobs and You". The video's thumbnail image was what the title described, except that the image only flashed for a split second. The rest of the video's content was DeFranco talking. It quickly became his most successful video at the time, with 1.8 million views. From then on he changed his content to sex, gossip, and news.
DeFranco used his large audience to win the Spore Creature Creator, a game promotion competition, and in doing so beat celebrities such as Stan Lee, Katy Perry, and Elijah Wood. The winner's prize was to choose which charity would receive a donation of $15,000. He chose the PKD Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which he attributed to his family's history with the condition. Defranco's large online audience also enabled him to win Wired's Sexiest Geek of 2008 competition, a reader voted contest.
In 2009, he claimed in an interview to have a salary of over $250,000 from a number of sources on the Internet, not just YouTube, but later denied it in several videos. In February 2012, DeFranco claimed he paid himself $100,000 a year, and reinvests the rest back into his company. He has been paid by companies to create videos to promote Carl's Jr.'s burgers, and the US television series Lie to Me and Fringe. DeFranco was a founding member of The Station, but left only a few months after it was created. DeFranco also launched Like Totally Awesome (LTA), in which video reviews submitted by viewers are compiled into a single video. Reviews submitted cover movies, video games, and technology. The show was run by Sarah Penna, the creator of the YouTube multi-channel network Big Frame. Early in his YouTube career, Penna aided DeFranco, securing him coverage in news articles and magazines, such as Fast Company. Mekanism, an advertising agency, was hired to promote him. In March 2010, the sxephil channel surpassed 1 million subscribers. In July 2010, along with Toby Turner, DeFranco co-created CuteWinFail, an online series which has been described by one ReadWrite writer as "essentially the YouTube equivalent of America’s Funniest Home Videos."
In October 2008, DeFranco co-starred with Jessica Rose and Kevin Wu in Hooking Up, written and acted by Woody Tondorf as a promo from HBOLabs (the online arm of HBO). Hooking Up is a scripted 10-episode Web-based series set at a fictional university where the students spend most of their time emailing and using Facebook, but still manage to miscommunicate.
Guest appearances on Hooking Up have been made by Kevin Nalty, Michael Buckley, and other popular Internet celebrities.
By the show's second day on YouTube, it had received more than 450,000 views, which for the time was considered a success. Bobbie Johnson of The Guardian said that many Web surfers had "scoffed at what they see as a cynical attempt to cash in."
2012–present: Creating a network
In early 2012, DeFranco signed with Revision3. Later in the year, DeFranco hosted the 25th anniversary of Discovery Channel's Shark Week.
In September 2012, it was reported that DeFranco receives almost 30 million views a month.
In January 2013, DeFranco announced that he would be meeting with United States Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the topic of gun laws.Google's official blog revealed that the two, along with Guy Kawasaki would be discussing in a Google+ Hangout. The discussion moderator was revealed to be PBS NewsHour's Hari Sreenivasan. The following month, it was announced that DeFranco will be a guest judge on the second season of Internet Icon.
In May 2013, DeFranco's assets, including The Philip DeFranco Show and SourceFed, were acquired by Revision3, which itself was a subsidiary of Discovery Digital Networks. Upon the acquisition, DeFranco became added as an exec of Revision3, the Senior VP of a new Revision3 subsidiary, Phil DeFranco Networks and Merchandise. DeFranco spoke with Jon Erlichman about his partnership with Revision3 following the deal. In October 2013, as part of his new network, DeFranco launched another channel, ForHumanPeoples.
In November 2013, DeFranco was a special guest a live pre-show simulcast for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary from YouTube Space LA. Additionally, DeFranco has organized live shows and meetup events in locations such as Arizona, Los Angeles, and Toronto.
DeFranco aspired to have launched channels within his network by the end of 2013, though due to "the logistical complications of joining Discovery, adding staff and strategizing the future," those plans did not materialize. DeFranco later planned 2014 to be the year that he would begin launching new channels. This once again did not fall through, although in 2015, DeFranco was involved in the launching of Super Panic Frenzy, a gaming network, including a YouTube channel and a Twitch live-stream show. In addition, DeFranco launched a family vlogging channel, The DeFranco Fam, in March 2015.
In January 2012, DeFranco launched SourceFed, which at the time was produced by James Haffner. DeFranco had The Philip DeFranco Show and SourceFed nominated for awards in the 3rd installment of the Streamy Awards. The PDS was nominated for Best First-Person Series and Best News and Culture Series. SourceFed was also nominated for Best News and Culture Series, as well as Best Live Series. SourceFed's #PDSLive 2012 Election Night Coverage was nominated for Best Live Event.
DeFranco, along with SourceFed co-hosts, Elliott Morgan and Meg Turney, joined journalists at the 2012 Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention as part of YouTube's "Elections Hub". Later, in May 2013, SourceFed Nerd, a branch of SourceFed, was launched.
DeFranco's merchandise line is ForHumanPeoples. The line's website was launched by DeFranco in 2011, two years before DeFranco launched a YouTube channel based on the clothing line. Like SourceFed, and its Nerd spinoff, the FHP channel is part of DeFranco's network. In October 2013, the FHP channel uploaded a video pairing Joe Bereta's daughter, Hayden Bereta, with designer Cory Nakamura, and the Generosity Water charity. The video features Hayden Bereta drawing a superhero design, at the instruction of Elliott Morgan, which was then transferred into a shirt design, with proceeds from shirt sales going to the charity.
DeFranco opened his personal channel, under the YouTube username PhilipDeFranco, on September 19, 2007. Initially, the channel was used for behind-the-scenes for his main series, but now it serves as a channel where DeFranco vlogs about life events, such as announcing his first child's then upcoming birth.
The series is part of Phil DeFranco Networks & Merchandise, a subsidiary of Discovery Digital Networks. The Vloggity is a video blog, or "vlog", style show. In May 2013, The Vloggity, along with DeFranco's other assets at the time, were acquired by Revision3.
Due to joining YouTube in 2006 and soon gaining a sizable audience on the website, DeFranco has been described by Lucas Shaw of TheWrap as "one of the first video bloggers to find success on YouTube, and has since built ," as well as having an, "entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of YouTube." David Cornell of The Inquisitr News writes that DeFranco is, "one of the leading sources of news," on YouTube, later adding, "Philip DeFranco is a YouTube success story." Alex Iansiti of Huffington Post noted, "The Philip DeFranco Show is a great example of a media company to sprout out of YouTube." The Los Angeles Times has described DeFranco as, "the Walter Cronkite for the YouTube generation who generates hundreds of headlines in under 10 minutes." Sarah Kessler of Fast Company has referred to DeFranco as his generation's, "Jon Stewart, if not Rupert Murdoch and News Corp."
DeFranco has polycystic kidney disease which he inherited from his father and grandfather.
Politically, he is a libertarian. Additionally, DeFranco announced he would vote for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. DeFranco says that he has used cannabis in the past, stating, "I have a prescription and I take it to sleep. Also if it makes the movie I'm falling asleep to 10x funnier, that is a side effect I am ok with." DeFranco has described his political views as, "fiscally conservative, socially liberal, for the most part." Defranco says he was raised Roman Catholic, but states that he is an atheist.
As of 2015, DeFranco lives in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles with his wife, Lindsay Jordan Doty, their son Philip "Trey" DeFranco III, and their two Yorkshire Terriers, Rookie and Ace.DeFranco proposed to Doty, then his longtime girlfriend, on August 16, 2013 at his "DeFranco Loves Dat AZ" show in Tempe, Arizona. The proposal was set up by a question from the audience to Lindsay, asking if she thought she and DeFranco would ever marry. DeFranco responded by proposing to Lindsay on stage. Lindsay said "yes" just when her parents appeared on the stage. On October 8, 2013, DeFranco and Doty announced they were expecting their first child in April. Their son, named Philip "Trey" DeFranco III, was born on April 22, 2014. DeFranco and Doty's wedding took place on March 7, 2015, and was noted for being amply captured on social media. Fellow YouTube personality Michael Buckley officiated the ceremony. On October 7, 2016, DeFranco informed his viewers that Doty had suffered a miscarriage of her then-unannounced second pregnancy.
As of 2016, Philip legally changed his surname from Franchini, Jr. to DeFranco, Jr.
Awards and nominations
|2008||Philip DeFranco||Sexiest Geek||Wired magazine||Won|
|2010||Best Vlogger||2nd Streamy Awards||Nominated|
|2013||The Philip DeFranco Show||Best News Series||2nd IAWTV Awards||Won|
|Best Writing (Non-Fiction)||Nominated|
|Best First-Person Series||3rd Streamy Awards||Nominated|
|Best News and Culture Series||Won|
|Audience Choice for Best Series of the Year||Won|
|Best Live Series||Nominated|
|SourceFed: #PDSLive 2012 Election Night Coverage||Best Live Event||Nominated|
|2014||The Philip DeFranco Show||Audience Choice for Best Show of the Year||4th Streamy Awards||Nominated|
|SourceFed||News and Current Events||Won|
|Audience Choice for Best Show of the Year||Nominated|
|2016||The Philip DeFranco Show||Best News and Culture Series||6th Streamy Awards||Won|
|The Philip DeFranco Show||Audience Choice for Best Show of the Year||Won|