- YouTube star Brandon Rogers was one of the first creators to get a show on Facebook’s Watch platform when it debuted in fall 2017.
- Rogers said Facebook was very hands-off in the process, giving him a flat budget and near-total creative freedom.
- He said Facebook did give him one note, however: “tone down the blood and feces.”
YouTube star Brandon Rogers, who has 4.5 million subscribers, was one of the first creators to get his own show on Facebook Watch when the platform launched in 2017 — but he’s still not sure if Facebook liked it.
During a wide-ranging interview about his rise in the industry, Rogers described the process of making the show, titled “Stuff & Sam.”
When Facebook approached Rogers in early 2017, he was having trouble making money on YouTube because his videos kept getting flagged as inappropriate and demonetized, he said. In YouTube’s quest to keep advertisers away from hate videos, many creators saw some of their videos cut off from ads. This was colloquially called the “adpocalypse” by many YouTubers.
(YouTube declined to comment and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.)
During the “adpocalypse,” Facebook “brought me into the office,” Rogers said. “We had a YouTube sh–talking contest. They offered me a 20-episode web series.”
Rogers worked on that series for about six months, putting aside most of his work on his YouTube channel. He had complete creative control and got a flat budget. He worked with just two other people on it and had little overhead.
“We made a good chunk of change from it,” he said.
And while he was proud of how the show turned out, he doesn’t really know how Facebook felt.
“Every time I would talk to them, they’d say, ‘Oh it’s funny’ — but they have to say that … I don’t know whether they liked it or not,” he said.
He said he only got one real note.
“They did call me once, once to specifically tone down the blood and feces,” he laughed. “Not eradicated. But just toned down. That was really the only thing.”
When “Stuff & Sam” launched in October 2017, Facebook only demanded exclusivity on it for two weeks, after which Rogers put the episodes on YouTube. The show ended up getting much more viewership on YouTube. For instance, the first episode currently sits at 127,000 views on Facebook and 2.5 million on YouTube.
“I couldn’t be mad,” he said. Rogers said he thought Facebook helped him reach a different audience, and that he noticed more men coming to his live shows following the release, whereas before it was mainly women.
And there was another benefit: YouTube started to listen to him.
“I mentioned [to YouTube] how much I loved Facebook,” he said. “Suddenly YouTube, they remonetized my videos, every video I put up, untouched. Facebook helped me get my YouTube mojo back.”