The social talent of YouTube has been in the traditional media spot light more and more since the acquisition of US based digital video network Maker Studios by Disney for $500million in March. Main stream media outlets can no longer deny the threat of technology-driven video coming from individual content creators on YouTube.
Jonathan Saccone-Joly is Ireland’s most successful YouTube vlogger, together with his wife Anna he has turned uploading daily snippets of their family life onto YouTube into a full time career. The SacconeJolys’ have been recording their daily lives for four years now, every evening at 6pm Irish time, across the world people tune in to LeFloofTV on YouTube to see the latest instalment from the Cork based family. The current stats for their YouTube channel stand at an impressive 429,771 subscribers and a total of 86,940,792 views.
The couple have shared almost everything with the world, from their engagement and marriage, to the birth of their two Children, puppy births, holidays and of course the day to day life in-between. Next on the agenda is their big move to London later this month.
Today we catch up with Johnathan to talk about his career to date:
Tell us about life before the vlogs.
Before I picked up the camera and began to share my life with the world, I had just graduated university from AUB (Arts University Bournemouth) where I studied and completed a BA Hons in interactive media. I left university with the world in my sights but sadly graduated in the middle of a huge global recession and after working for a few months in London doing contract work I retreated back to my home town of Dublin, to see if I could find anything better. After a few months of hopeless searching for work I noticed that I had been spending most of my time watching YouTube videos for either entertainment or education and that was the first time I thought about YouTube as a career option.
How did you get started on YouTube?
I started with simple parody videos, just me utilising some of the skills I had picked up at university, I did maybe 30 of those types of video and then I put up a different kind of video, just me out walking my dog in a forest with my then girlfriend, now wife and suddenly there were more comments, more rating and more interest from such a simple video, no special effects no written scripts just an honest account of my day. I did go back to doing the parody videos until my 50th video on the channel which was me saying that i was going to try make an honest video diary of my real life for one week.
At what point did you discover that you could make a career out of youtube?
It was about 350 days into my daily video series, and at this point i had moved down to Cork. I managed to get a job working in a stock video studio doing after effects and general video composition and I remember getting an email from my network about the channel stats and looking at my pay check from the studio and realising that youtube was about to become a bigger pay check than my nine to five.
What has been the highlight of your youtube career?
Meeting the people who made all this possible. Each year since the 2nd year i started this series I have organised a meet and greet with my viewers. The first year 10 people showed up and we just sat in a park in the city. The second year I had to rent space because almost 50 people showed up. The third year I had a sponsor and packed out an entire night club with hundreds turning up to say hi, and although yes there have been many milestones I have achieved in terms of viewing figures, money and accolades I still couldn’t have achieved any of that if it wasn’t for the support of the people who watch my videos.
Any advice for young people thinking about a career in vlogging?
Stop thinking about it, and start uploading videos. Youtube is forever expanding and being noticed is becoming increasingly difficult but if you have the drive, the determination and the intrinsic motivation there is no reason why you cannot become successful.
When you share your life with the world are there privacy concerns in the future?
I find it funny when I watch back the older videos, back when no one was watching, the information I would share because what harm could it do, I now know better. Lucky for me I learnt a lot when no one was watching so now I find myself better equipped in knowing what I should and should not share.
You are moving to London in the near future, what does 2014 hold in store for the SacconeJolys and what are your opinions on the long term future of youtube businesses?
I personally try and make a lot of longterm goals and not too many short term, I will move back to the UK later this month in the hopes of being part of what I can only describe as a media revolution, for so long main stream media has tried to ignore the online space but I see we are heading into transition period where talent is being picked up from the online space rather then the traditional medium and I also want to make sure I am front and centre should anyone come looking a funny irish man.