Defy Media, the digital media company behind top YouTube channel Smosh, has announced this morning a seismic $70 million Series B funding round led by Wellington Management Company, a Boston-based investment firm. Defy said it would use new funds to “aggressively expand programming” across its cross-category portfolio on both traditional and emerging platforms. This roster comprises 72 original weekly series from digital brands like Smosh, ClevverTV, Screen Junkies, AWE me, Break, and Made Man.
All told, Defy says twenty of its top digital brands generate 1 million views per episode, totaling 800 million views per month. The company adds it reaches 125 million viewers monthly, including 100 million social followers and 65 million YouTube subscribers. Its shows primarily target viewers aged 13 to 34.
“Our brands and programming are currently being embraced by over 100 million people monthly and are poised to be included in the next iteration of paid cable and OTT bundled packages,” said Defy CEO Matt Diamond in a statement. “These investments will further allow us to accelerate our original programming to capitalize on the changes that are happening within the media landscape.”
Defy says that the slew of companies entering the streaming space today have shown a keen interest in adding its programming to their platforms, and its content is currently available on Comcast’s Watchable, Sky TV, Verizon’s go90, Amazon Prime, Pluto TV, and Spotify.
Accordingly, Defy says it was ramping up production even before the investment. In addition to its 72 weekly shows, the company produced Smosh: The Movie in 2015, and then a serialized comedy titled Part Timers with Smosh that is now being adapted into a feature film forYouTube Red. Defy even launched its own premium subscription service called ScreenJunkies Plus last November.
Defy has previously received investments from ABS Capital, Lionsgate, Viacom, and Zelnick Media Capital (ZMC). The company was founded in 2013 when multi-channel network Alloy Digital and media company Break Media joined forces.