Smosh is many things. A comedy brand from longtime YouTubers Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. The #1 most subscribed channel on YouTube. The only channel to reach 7 million subscribers. And a channel with 2 billion views.
So who's house is it? Smosh's house. Their success, especially with the 13-24 age demographic, means Smosh is going to be here for a long time. Let's take a quick look at the long running channel and see why they've been so successful.
Why Smosh: Consistent, Pop-Culture Programming
It always begins and ends with quality content. (duh) No matter the genre, you must be serving compelling content to draw in viewers and convert them to Subscribers. Give your videos a "rhyme and reason". Smosh's main channel has been largely consistent since 2005. Check out their first video:
Today they have real production budgets and staff, but the content is largely the same. Check out one of their latest videos:
For 7 years Smosh has delivered comedy shorts inspired by pop-culture. Pop-culture related content helps create "share worthy" videos and draw in a wider audience. Simple, but Smosh has managed to stay above the noise as YouTube matured.
Once Smosh lures this audience in, they convert them to Subscribers by promising "more of the same". Smosh's consistency for quality and frequency is inspiring. Seriously, 7 years? Add in the online personality factor, 1:1 engagement (or 2:1) with vlogs and social media, and global reach with videos in Spanish and you realize Smosh has a perfect storm of audience development.
Smosh: A Comedy Brand
While having YouTube's #1 everything is admirable, Smosh's real accomplishments lie in business. They're a full blown comedy brand thanks to partner/co-owner.
I've heard several top YouTuber's on panels at VidCon and Meetups applaud Smosh.com, the destination website off YouTube. This allows Smosh to engage with their audience on their own terms with forums and UCG. This also means additional monetization opportunities like merchandise, more ad inventory and a proprietary user base.
But why has Smosh succeeded? The website isn't treated as an after-thought. Original blog posts, forums and truly valuable bonus videos (not just outtakes and deleted scenes) make this a quality content site.
Smosh is also a mini YouTube network. While Smosh's 2nd channel is mainly vlog related, the SmoshGames channel truly reflects a shift toward "brand". Why? Because Anthony and Ian aren't really the stars here. SmoshGames uses additional hosts from the Smosh team, delivers content wildly different than regular Smosh programming but expands the brand nonetheless.
Smosh is set to eventually thrive without Ian and Anthony. Someday we may see different stars of Smosh with Anthony and Ian as executive producers. Unprecedented for a YouTube channel like this, but a strong brand outlives its human creators. This is long term value for everyone involved with Smosh and the "holy grail" of online media.