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Philip DeFranco goes from Web host to network exec

Media IndustryDiscovery Communications, Inc.Television NetworksAnimal Planet (tv network)

Online sensation Philip DeFranco has found a new online home.

The popular YouTube host has joined forces with Discovery Communications Inc.'s Revision3 in a deal scheduled to be announced Thursday. DeFranco will become senior vice president of DeFranco Network & Merchandise, a new Revision3 subsidiary. The company declined to comment on how much the deal was worth.

Revision3 is a video network that creates original programs. The company was acquired last year by Discovery, which owns 155 worldwide television networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC.

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DeFranco — who works under that pseudonym and keeps his real identity private — became an Internet icon with shows including "The Philip DeFranco Show," "SourceFed" and "The Vloggity." His channels and shows have had more than 1 billion views since 2006, when he launched the first episode of his namesake show.

"He has a great following and he's able to find other talent and make them successful," said Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3. "He's a master of building communities on YouTube."

DeFranco said in an email interview that he's looking forward to a partnership that will help him get more content online by finding and promoting new content creators.

"I'll be on a team that understands quality over quantity and focus on building up rather than pulling whatever they can get in," DeFranco said.

DeFranco has been an affiliate of Revision3 in the past and has also hosted Discovery's "Shark Week Chompdown." He was also a host for YouTube's live coverage of the most recent U.S. presidential race. He will continue producing and appearing in his shows as well as contributing new ideas to Revision3.

"He has a lot of things he wants to launch," Louderback said. "We're going to turbocharge that."

The deal represents a further step onto the Web by Discovery. People are spending more time watching videos online and more money on them, said Dan Cryan, research director of digital media for IHS.

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"We're still incredibly near the beginning of using the Internet to distribute video," Cryan said."It's a young medium."

There are two main ways to get content. One is through aggregating a lot of content, which is what has made YouTube so successful, Cryan said. The other way is through curating and picking certain things to foster a channel.

For Revision3, it is difficult to compete on volume against YouTube, Cryan said.

"Essentially, for an aggregator to compete with YouTube, you have to start cherry-picking your content," he said.

It is especially difficult given the fragmentation of audiences because of the different mediums they have to choose from for entertainment. The question becomes how to build and nurture an audience that is potentially fickle and not always looking for broadcast TV, Cryan said. But the addition of DeFranco, who has a well-established following, could pull in more viewers for Revision3 and Discovery.

"We see a huge new audience complementary to our television audiences," said JBPerrette, Discovery's chief digital officer. "We have pivoted our digital strategy, focusing on video. We want to be a leader in this space."

angie.millar@latimes.com

 

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Media IndustryDiscovery Communications, Inc.Television NetworksAnimal Planet (tv network)
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