WME has signed digital-media studio and programmer Defy Media — whose biggest brands include the Smosh comedy duo on YouTube — and Defy has also entered into a partnership with Brett Ratner and James Packer’s WME-repped RatPac Entertainment to develop several projects.
The agency said it will work with Defy to package its development slate of original projects for TV and film, as well as other platforms. Investors in Defy, formed by the 2013 merger of Alloy Digital and Break Media, include Lionsgate, ABS Capital, ZelnickMedia and Viacom.
Defy targets audiences between 13 and 34 years old. Its channels include Smosh, whose principals Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla starred in their first feature-length film, “Smosh: The Movie”; entertainment news network Clevver; comedy site Break.com; and Screen Junkies, whose series include the popular “Honest Trailers.”
“We’re excited to partner with WME as we further ramp up our (intellectual property) development and expand our footprint in television, film and other platforms,” Defy chief content officer Barry Blumberg said in a statement.
According to a Defy-sponsored research study earlier this year, consumers aged 13-24 find content produced for digital platforms far more engaging and entertaining than traditional TV. “We’re seeing an increased appetite from our audience for high-quality short- and longform programming across our digital and (over-the-top) platforms,” Blumberg said, “and we’re energized by the growing opportunities to bring our content to traditional television and film audiences.”
According to Defy, video content it produces generates more than 600 million views and reaches 125 million viewers per month.