YouTuber Philip DeFranco hasn’t been shy about voicing his problems with the often-changing platform. “I am tired of trying to work with the alcoholic, negligent stepfather that is YouTube,” he said in a video published in April. Now, he’s launched a new app that enables video-to-video communications between both community members and DeFranco himself. DeFranco Now, available for iOS and via desktop, will allow users to tune into DeFranco’s content, as well as answer Q&As, pose their own questions, talk about news on their own channels, and more.
The app runs on video platform Snakt, where DeFranco serves as an adviser. In a brief segment about DeFranco Now, the YouTuber says that the impetus behind the app is related to one of the features he misses most from old-school YouTube: its video responses. “But I also knew that even if we could get video responses back today, I would want them to be better,” he says.
The goal of DeFranco Now is to enable better back-and-forth between users. “I didn’t want to just upload monologues to the internet,” he says. “I really wanted to start a dialogue. Of course, you can leave comments, but comments are just text, and video-to-video interaction, it’s just deeper, it’s better. When you can look into the eyes of the person you are having a back and forth with, it just matters more.”
DeFranco has publicly spoken about moving future projects away from YouTube before, especially as the platform becomes more volatile for creators. As YouTube continues to tighten its rules around monetization, more creators are finding it difficult to make a sustainable income off their content. In his aforementioned “Tried, Frustrated, But Also Excited” video, DeFranco said his show “may not be able to survive” on YouTube due to demonetization and algorithm penalties. “I honestly, now, based on the way YouTube has set itself up, don’t believe that I can thrive on this platform anymore.”
DeFranco Now is currently available for iOS, though an Android version is in the works. DeFranco says that the app is based around a hyper-focused community, rather than acting as a catchall social platform like Twitter. Although he says there are plans and ideas for additional features, how the app evolves will depend on how people use it.