Defy Media Shows Off Its Small Yet Mighty Presence

Digital production house says its videos snag 500 million monthly views

Online production house Defy Media might not have as many creators on its roster as multi-channel networks do, but it wants advertisers to know it has just as much reach and resonance as the big names out there. 

"There's nobody better in the ecosystem at making and distributing content than we are," Defy Media president Keith Richman told Adweek at its Digital Content NewFronts debut in New York on Monday.

Last year, Defy Media averaged 500 million video views per month on its in-house content. It also drew 22 million app installs and 1.2 billion visits to its mobile and Web portals. The digital production company also has 52 million YouTube subscribers and 30 million social media followers. That's in addition to the 175 pieces of branded content it made in 2015.

Those numbers are thanks to, in part, having talent like YouTube sensation Smosh, a comedy duo that was named the most influential celebrities for the 13- to 18-year-old crowd, according to a study in Variety. Smosh will debut its first feature-length movie, Smosh: The Movie, at the online video convention Vidcon on July 23.

The duo is also set to be the first digital talent to be fashioned into wax figures at Madame Tussauds. And it's launching a new scripted comedy series called Every [Blank] Ever, a self-described "modern-day SNL," which will add four new faces to the Smosh team.

Then, there's Screen Junkies, the channel behind Honest Trailers, which provides a sarcastic look at popular movies, as well as Movie Fights, in which film buffs spar over hypothetical movie situations. Fresh off NewFronts, Defy will release the 100th episode of Honest Trailers today, parodying the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

There's also Made Man, a channel dedicated to men's lifestyle content. Its series include Speakeasy, in which host Paul F. Tompkins chats with celebrities in a bar about their lives and careers, as well as Gentleman Up, a movement to encourage people to become more knowledgeable Renaissance men. It will also add a Queer Eye For the Straight Guy meets Intervention reality series called Mantervention, where subjects are confronted about their lifestyle choices by an expert and host.

Richman attributed the company's success to a blend of creative art and data science, which it will apply to the 30 shows it currently has in development.

"We can't create the content we create without the audience," he said. "We can't give expert advice without knowing how to engage the audience ourselves."