Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
Smosh is the second most subscribed channel on YouTube, but Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla‘s influence extends well beyond their main feed. Smosh Games has been a runaway success, both Ian and Anthony‘s personal channels have passed one million subscribers, and Shut Up! Cartoons–the animation hub the duo launched with the help of Alloy Digital and YouTube–is now over one million subs as well. We spoke to Alloy Digital Head of Content Barry Blumberg about SU!C’s approach to online animation.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to see Shut Up! Cartoons join other Smosh channels in the million subscribers club?
Barry Blumberg: I think its very exciting to cross over the million subscribers mark. We have some great programming coming up we’re just starting to hit our stride in the second season. We have a bunch of new shows that we’ve put out, we have more new shows coming, and we have some of the old favorites coming back, so its very exciting and i think it will continue to grow.
TF: The Smosh fanbase obviously forms the core of Shut Up! Cartoons’ audience, but do you think the channel has built its own audience independent of the main Smosh channel?
BB: I think to some degree it has but we have a very big brand that has 12+ million subscribers on the main Smosh channel and we have 13-15 million monthly users coming to our website. There’s a big brand out there and I think the people who are interested in this have certainly subscribed to it. I think there are some people who may or may not know Smosh but they are interested in funny animation and they have also come to the channel as well.
TF: How do you choose which shows to distribute on Shut Up! Cartoons?
BB: We reach out to creators in the animated space; I have a background in animation, and we approach this with the belief that everybody that works in animation always has that one show that they really wanted to make that they were never able to get off the ground with the TV networks, either because of the content or because it was a little quirky, but it was always a passion project for them. We reached out and a lot of the shows reflect that. We also reached out to people that we thought were good and that had a voice that was consistent with the Smosh voice; they pitched us their ideas and we said yes to a lot of them, and when we said yes the ideal situation was that they were turnkey and they could make the show on their own. We did that in a lot of cases, and in some other cases we had to give them some help, whether that was connecting a creator with a studio, or connecting a studio with a writer, or connecting a writer with a designer. We facilitated a lot of that, but really we look to people that could pitch a show and actually make that show as well.
TF: Are you still working with YouTube, or is Shut Up! Cartoons now independent from the Original Channels Initiative? What has been your experience working with YouTube?
BB: We continue to work very closely with YouTube on this channel. YouTube has done a great job just in terms of supporting the channel from the beginning. I think, from an economic perspective, without the relationship of the YouTube Originals program we wouldn’t have been able to get the channel off the ground, so they were instrumental in doing that. They’ve continued to help and continued to facilitate cross-promotion between us and other animated channels on YouTube.
TF: Who came up with the idea for ‘Smosh Babies‘? Is it based on a true story in any way?
BB: If you’ve watched the show I think you know it’s not based on anybody’s true life. It’s a little bit crazy. I come out of the school of seeing Muppet Babies on TV and seeing Rugrats on TV, so I made the suggestion to the guys that we might want to do the same thing with them but just turn it on its ear, and they took it and ran with it.
TF: Any plans to bring back Oishi High School Battle?
BB: Oishi is definitely coming back…[for] its second season. Oishi is in full production. [Update: Oishi will return on November 1st.]
TF: What’s next for Shut Up! Cartoons?
BB: There’s a lot of stuff that’s going to come out. There are some really funny new shows. We have another show coming out called 16 Bit High from the creators of Oishi that will launch as part of the second season, and we have programming that runs well into the first part of next year.