Departure Foreshadowed at 2017 Newfronts
It’s been just over a month since the 2017 Newfronts where Defy Media packed a big message — the business continues to scale around its owned and operated media brands, including first and most successful comedy destination SMOSH. At that presentation, Ian Hecox, one of the brand’s co-founders was front and center in talking up SMOSH and its future. But the second half of the two-man founding team, Anthony Padilla, was absent from the show. And now today, the creator has announced his departure from the company to pursue his own independent endeavors.
“I need to do what’s best for me, and that right now is to focus on creating stuff as an independent,” he said in a farewell video announcement that has already tracked over 300,000 views since being released this morning. “I cannot wait to see what Anthony creates. I’m excited for him,” added Hecox.
The duo on today’s video carry a very different air than even just three years ago when VideoInk interviewed them at VidCon in 2014, and Padilla’s departure could point to a larger oncoming trend of YouTube creators age’ing out of their personas on YouTube.
“After twelve years helping to build SMOSH into the massive brand it is today, co-founder Anthony Padilla will be moving on to explore other creative opportunities. This marks not only a seminal moment for SMOSH, but also an important one for the YouTube eco-system as Smosh will be the first native YouTube brand to have demonstrated an ability to move beyond its founding talent,” said Defy Media President Keith Richman, who threw strong remarks at the 2017 NewFronts this year on the state of the industry and its competitors, mainly Hollywood.
Since launching the brand at age 14, Padilla, along with Hecox, has seen the business through two acquisitions — first by Kin Community (then DECA) and then by Alloy Digital (now Defy) in 2011. The brand now operates 7 channels and programs over 20 shows for its 40 million on YouTube and over 20 million followers across its various social media channels.
“The incredible team of talent and producers at Smosh has worked hard over the past decade to ensure that Smosh was more than a YouTube channel, but a meaningful brand with true longevity and are thrilled to have achieved this goal,” added Richman.
“We are excited for Anthony as he embarks on his next chapter and energized for what’s next for Ian and the full SMOSH cast as we build on this incredible run and roll out more new programming and formats this year.”