Philip DeFranco’s New Channel May Change How Money Is Made on YouTube

/ Oct 22, 2013


To be totally honest, when news surfaced that Philip DeFranco’s new network ForHumanPeoples would host commerce-based content, I was ready to light a torch, raise a pitchfork, and chase those money-grabbing millionaires out on a rail.

I expected that every week, DeFranco or someone from SourceFed would upload a video clumsily wrapped around a sales pitch for some new piece of merch. It made me sad for YouTube, and it made me question how long, in this new landscape of creator-endorsed products, YouTube could resist being a younger, digital Home Shopping Network.

Well, as it often happens, it turns out my initial perceptions were wrong. Yes, ForHumanPeoples is very centered around e-commerce. And while that would be frustrating if done without taste (see here), DeFranco and the crew at Discovery Digital have really done something amazing.

The two commerce-based uploads at the new channel work like this: Either a sketch or a vlog is uploaded to the channel, the contents of which center around creating or modifying some piece of merchandise. In the channel’s maiden, non-trailer upload, funny man Steve Zaragoza goes crazy and “hacks” many of the current DeFranco Network designs. The end result are a series of “Zaragoza” exclusive products, which can be purchased via a link below the video.

It’s an elaborate method just to sell limited shirts and posters, but it’s banking on a model that has proven time and time again to be successful. The Zaragoza merch is only available for one week. According to DeFranco’s merch site, the items will be taken off the market permanently after the week ends.

It’s a style of merchandising that has been adopted by hundreds of 24-hour t-shirt sites like Teefury and Teemagnet. The limited shelf life of products works two-fold, making customers race to pick them up while also giving them the promise of exclusivity. With a vocal, rabid fanbase like DeFranco’s exclusive shirts and posters are highly sought after.

When ForHumanPeoples was first announced several weeks ago, Discovery Digital CEO Jim Louderback explained that, in his opinion, merchandise-driven YouTube channels has less than satisfactory results. DeFranco also chimed in, explaining that the channel, although consumer-driven, would focus around more than “people buying stuff.” By early accounts, it seems that DeFranco is keeping his promise.

As for Louderback’s claim that ForHumanPeoples would offer more than other e-commerce YouTube channels, the future is still a bit foggy. However, with exclusive merchandise anchored by high-quality, DeFranco-esque content, how could it fail?

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