The most subscribed to YouTube channel is one you probably haven’t heard of

Congratulations are apparently in order for SMOSH, which announced via a press release Monday that it has become the top-ranked YouTube channel by subscribers according to metrics released by YouTube subscriber analytics company VidStatsX. The VidStatsX numbers put SMOSH at an impressive 6.8 million subscribers and more than two billion lifetime views, and the move to first place reportedly comes “just weeks” after the channel took the second place ranking in terms of most-subscribed YouTube channels.

Which, for many of us, begs the question – “What is SMOSH?”  

SMOSH is the brand name of a comedy duo, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, who found Internet fame in November 2005 after posting a video of themselves to YouTube featuring the two lip-synching to the original English theme song for Pokemon. Despite the revised history presented in Monday’s press release announcing the YouTube dominance, this wasn’t the duo’s first YouTube video, and in fact it even followed a formula established by earlier videos the two had uploaded to the site, including lip-synchs to the themes of Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Using the massive success of the Pokemon video as a launching pad – At one point, it reached 24.7 million views, making it the most viewed video on YouTube at the time, before Pokemon copyright owners Shogakukan Productions complained and pushed the site to remove the video – the duo started posting more videos, and expanding their reach with additional YouTube channels, each with a different focus, all aimed at the same teen and young adult demographic that had given them their success to date. In July, 2011, SMOSH was purchased by Alloy Digital, enabling even more growth: Views for SMOSH channels have risen 40 percent since the purchase, and Alloy has taken the brand from a viral success to a marketing machine, with advertisers such as The Sims and Assassin’s Creed taking advantage of the SMOSH success to grab more than 30 million views for their ads.

In a statement accompanying the press release, Hecox and Padilla said that they were “truly blown away and humbled” by the news, adding “When we first started making videos we had no idea our hobby would last, let alone turn into such a colossus. We’re extremely thankful to Barry, Alloy Digital and, most of all, our fans, who have watched our content, shared in our excitement and supported us over all these years. The best part is that there’s still so much more to come! More videos, more music, more games, more mobile, more merch…more SMOSH! We love all of you!”

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of entertainment.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: