Defy Media Unveils Smosh Scripted Series, 'Galaxy Quest' Documentary
In a time when many companies are seeking to bring their digital projects to television, Defy took aim at the traditional media industry in its annual NewFront presentation.
Defy Media pulled no punches on Tuesday during its annual NewFront event, where it revealed a new slate of programming from its Clevver, Smosh and ScreenJunkies brands.
President Keith Richman took aim at the traditional television industry, explaining to the room of ad buyers that a 45-year-old viewer is hardly young, unless you are one of the executives who run a traditional media company. (Behind him ran an image of those executives, including CBS CEO Les Moonves, 21st Century Fox co-chairman Rupert Murdoch, and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.)
He and CEO Matt Diamond also dinged other digital media companies that have dropped off the NewFronts schedule this year.
Meanwhile, in a NewFronts culture where many companies present projects that they will only make if they get brand sponsorships, Defy made a point of touting series that it plans to make regardless. "We're lucky because we're building upon last year," Richman told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the show.
Last year, Defy made 35 new shows. The company is bringing many of them back this year, including Smosh Live, Prank It FWD, ScreenJunkies Central Comic-Con broadcasts and the Smosh Summer/Winer Games. All told, Defy makes 75 weekly or bi-weekly original shows. It has an audience of 110 million across platforms including YouTube and social media.
Defy also used the stage Tuesday to unveil a new logo. Richman explained to THR, "as our consumer brands have grown, the Defy branding stood out as less vibrant than the brands underneath it."
The company, which raised $70 million last September, has made an effort to expand its brand onto new channels. Richman noted that the company has invested heavily in Facebook because it's "where our audience is." Defy is also betting that the slew of new, internet-enabled skinny TV bundles — including YouTube TV, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue — will present opportunities for its brands, including subscription service ScreenJunkies Plus."We never wanted to maintain our own over-the-top infrastructure," he said. "We want to be part of people's bundles. So we positioned ourselves as a brand that must be a must-have."
Much of the company's NewFronts presentation was devoted to unveiling new programming from across its brands, including scripted series Not Quite Cancelled that parodies the television industry, and a feature-length documentary on Galaxy Quest.
Here are the highlights from Defy's new programming slate:
It Got Real - A new docuseries that gives fans access to the real lives of the hosts, including a look at Erin Robinson's struggles with fibroid tumors.
Clevver Takes On - Clevver hosts tackle the real-world challenges of their fans, seeking expert advice and instructions for a solution.
Get Jacked - A new fitness series where each episode will showcase a unique and adventurous workout, from dancing on the beach to yoga at 5,000 feet.
Not Quite Cancelled - A scripted series that follows the making of fictional television show The Snake That Likes to Bake, which has been on the air for eight seasons but is struggling with ratings.
One Hour Song Machine - Host Keith Leak Jr. and his musical friends and guest stars create songs inspired by random items pulled from a box — a teddy bear, a pack of gum or a box of crayons — and they have only one hour to put together their pieces.
Operation: Open World - Two friends and video game fans travel to some of the biggest gaming and non-gaming events around the world, including the Tokyo Game Show and Oktoberfest.
Galaxy Quest: A ScreenJunkies Documentary - ScreenJunkies' first feature documentary offers a look behind the making of comedy science-fiction film Galaxy Quest. The cast — which included Sigourney Weaver and Tim Allen — gets personal about the film, as do their fans.
Millennial Falcon - This talk show from host Jenny Nicholson offers up discussion of all things Star Wars and Disney, including breakdowns of the newest trailer or a dissection of breaking news.
FlickBait - A weekly new movie roundup, this series tracks down the latest headlines and asks viewers to participate in the conversation. It's hosted by the writers behind Defy's Honest Trailers.