In late 2005, the low-fi, frenetic stylings of unabashed Carmichael, California college students, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, helped to characterize user-generated content for years to come. Low-quality production, unparralleled wackiness, quick edits, and the use of popular musical numbers were staples of Smosh’s catalog and attributes that, before any high-profile, original series hit the web, became synonymous with online video.
Though the comedy duo now produces a regular output of short-form sketches (I like Left Handed and Anthoy’s Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will be Pokemon), they’re most famous for their classic theme song covers.
Pokemon (embedded above) racked up over 24 million views on YouTube before it was removed thanks to a DMCA takedown notice from Shogakukan Production Co. Add to that hits like Mortal Kombat and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and originals like Transofmers and Boxman, and it’s no surprise Smosh is the 3rd Most Subscribed YouTube account of all-time (563,901 subscribers as of this post) and ranks in the top 15 for Most Viewed.
With those kinds of numbers, and reportedly over 340,000 members on its own Smosh.com, it was only a matter of time before a media company bought into these kids in an attempt to take them to the next level. Today, DECA announced just that. The new media studio behind Boing Boing TV and Alex Albrecht’s Proect Lore “has invested in and become the exclusive business and production partner for Smosh.”
DECA CEO and co-founder, Michael Wayne praises Anthony and Ian for their “clean, funny content that attracts an enormous mainstream audience of teenagers and young adults.” The twentysomethings have done an excellent job cultivating a sizable audience, and Wayne hopes to expose their family-friendly programming even further, helping Smosh “grow into the premier teen brand on the Internet.”
With Smosh’s viewership and consumer’s rabid consumption of teenybopper programming, that seems like an easy task. But YouTube math sometimes gets a little fuzzy. Like in the case of HBO Labs’ Hooking Up, numbers on individual YouTube channels don’t necessarily translate to big numbers someplace else. Also, part of Smosh’s success stems from its endurance. With exponentially more players in the game now than there were in 2005, it’s increasingly difficult to attract attention to a new media brand.
It’ll be interesting to see what new initiatives Ian, Anthony, and DECA undertake to stand out from the crowd.