Anthony Padilla steps away from Smosh
James R | On 15, Jun 2017
Smosh co-founder Anthony Padilla is stepping down from the YouTube comedy brand.
Along with Ian Hecox, Padilla started posting videos online over a decade ago in 2005. What began as some high-school kids having fun, though, eventually evolved into an online empire, selling the Smosh brand to Alloy Digital in 2011, before it then merged with Break Media in 2013, becoming Defy Media.
The brand’s main channel now boasts over 22 million subscribers, with lifetime views of over 6 million. And the cast has grown to over a dozen contributors, with shows including Smosh Games, Not Quite Cancelled and Whoa! Nature Show.
Now, though, the original pair are breaking up, as Padilla looks to explore other solo projects. The split was announced by the comedy partners on Wednesday – in, naturally, a video posted on YouTube.
“I’m so sad to see this chapter of my life coming to a close, but I will continue to support Ian and wish nothing but the best for him and the brand we created together,” Padilla said in a statement. “As I begin this adventure, I am excited to return to a feeling that I felt many years ago; a rush of adrenaline following a new and exciting idea. Creating as an individual is a passion that I have wanted to explore for a long time.
“To all those that have followed Ian and I throughout the years, I will always be so grateful for the continued love and support. As scary as this is, I am excited because I know that no matter what happens, I am following what’s true to me and what I’m passionate about. I hope to see you all on my journey.”
Hecox added: “Anthony and I have been friends for 19 years, and creative partners for the past 11 of those years. Throughout that time, we’ve built a comedy brand we’re so proud of and, side by side, developed content we loved – Smosh wouldn’t be what it is today without his contributions.”
The use of the word “brand” might seem odd given Smosh’s humble beginnings, but it’s that ability to keep going, despite any change of creative staff, that is helping to YouTube from an amateur site for homegrown content to a legitimate broadcasting platform in its own right. Indeed, Defy recently hired Dave Silverstein as general manager to lead business planning and operations for the brand as it goes forward.
“When we came together four years ago, one of the big goals was to create brands that were long lasting,” Defy president Keith Richman told THR. “A key piece of that was getting Ian and Anthony involved and excited about that possibility, which was really easy. It was a goal with an unclear date when it would matter, but we’re really excited we got to this point.”
“It’s a big moment for the YouTube ecosystem… For YouTube to really be relevant as a media entity in the long term, they need to be able to have brands that survive and thrive.”