When Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, a pair of 25-year-olds known as Smosh, posted a silly YouTube video of themselves lip-synching the Pokémon theme song in 2005, they weren’t trying to become Web phenoms. But that’s exactly what happened. The clip went viral, thanks to some incalculable combination of millennial nostalgia and absurdist Internet humor.
Eight years later, Smosh run the most popular channel on YouTube, boasting more than 8.2 million subscribers. The guys also have a Spanish channel, a vlog channel, a cartoon channel, a newly launched gaming channel, and a website/social network (Smosh.com) with exclusive video content and merchandise. They may have started as a one-off viral sensation, but their enduring success — and the success of fellow YouTube pioneers — has helped reshape the site into a vast entertainment entity that produces so much more than Web-based novelty acts.
Smosh, like so many of YouTube’s other top content creators, landed an audience via professionally produced videos, a consistent release schedule, and help from a slew of ahead-of-the-curve thinkers and producers. READ FULL STORY