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The Exec Stephanie Horbaczewski
& The Star Freddie Wong

They Are Huge On YouTube. How Do They Grow Off-Site, Too?

Where platforms like Kickstarter, YouTube, and Facebook fall short, entrepreneurs are stepping in.

Stephanie Horbaczewski

Founder and CEO, StyleHaul

Freddie Wong

Cofounder, Jump Studios

Horbaczewski runs YouTube's largest fashion and beauty network and is building a separate site to grow the StyleHaul brand. Wong, after becoming a YouTube celeb, started RocketJump.com to create and host the web series Video Game High School.

What's better--going it alone or on YouTube?

Horbaczewski: We'll always have a substantial part of our business on YouTube. But we're working on our own player and our own site. YouTube knows that the future is in more player options. I'm just not sure if it's as interested in getting there as fast as we are.

Wong: Some people only want to engage with our content on YouTube. Nothing compares to YouTube's global reach. But things are constantly changing. You have to be aware of the ground shifting beneath to stay balanced on top of it.

Can new tech help you go it alone?

Horbaczewski: The question is, if you move off YouTube, do you lose your audience? Our bet is to enrich the experience without using a different player. Our site will include shoppable tools on top of the YouTube player. Viewers can buy products mentioned in the video.

Wong: When we want extra features, we build them on RocketJump.com. For season 2 of VGHS, we shot in 48 frames per second, so we built a high-frame-rate player. We also have threaded comments, as opposed to YouTube's hundreds of comments every minute.

How can you make more money?

Horbaczewski: It's a balance between the audience and the 45-55 split on an ad. We'd like a cut of the products sold from our videos, and we're launching scripted videos with brands. If it were as easy as pushing viewers to our website, we wouldn't be so beholden to YouTube in the first place.

Wong: It's as if cable networks were taking half the cut of ads on cable. What's more important is figuring out other ways to monetize your content. Our last Kickstarter raised more than $800,000, and for season 2, we partnered with Dodge to use its cars in action sequences.


Fast Talk: Breaking from the Crowd

[Photographs by Jessica Haye & Clark Hsiao (Stephanie Horbaczewski) | Ye Rin Mok (Freddie Wong)]

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