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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

TheSoul Publishing

Winner in YouTube Presence


Since its 2016 launch, TheSoul Publishing has become an award-winning, market-leading digital studio that inspires, uplifts, and entertains over 1.5 billion social media followers worldwide with content in 21 languages.

TheSoul and its international creative team have created many popular internet brands, including 5-Minute Crafts®, Bright Side, 123 GO!, Avocado Couple, La La Life, Teen-Z, Baby Zoo, Slick Slime Sam, and Polar. Distributed through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and other platforms, these brands generate over 20 billion monthly views, surpassing Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.  

For several years TheSoul has had the most entertaining content to captivate, engage, and inspire its growing audience across its YouTube channels. But TheSoul saw an opportunity in YouTube Shorts to expand its universe of unique brands by developing dedicated Shorts channels. These would bring new, tailored brands, characters, and stories to life through content that appealed directly to the platform’s 1.5 billion monthly users and 30 billion daily views.

TheSoul Publishing's overarching objective was to increase its total audience to sustain its meteoric rise, hold its position as the top digital studio, and build an engaged audience on this exciting new format. To achieve this, the studio adjusted to producing content specific to the platform. It went about this in three ways:

  1. Developing new YouTube Short-friendly intellectual property.

  2. Identifying existing brands whose content could be adapted into engaging YouTube Shorts-friendly formats.

  3. Improving its decentralized production strategy to efficiently accommodate the need to post and create original content in a new format.

Strategy and Execution

Due to the growing popularity of short-form video, TheSoul faced a great opportunity in 2022: it had to develop new strategies to satisfy the audiences' growing appetite for this engaging and entertaining content format. As people spend more time online and on social media, they want quick, easily consumable digital entertainment, like short-form videos. 

TheSoul Publishing had tapped into the emerging trend of short-form content as early as 2019. Subsequently, when proprietary data indicated that its audience was consuming more short-form videos, the company’s leaders sought to reap the rewards of its early investment in the format and decided to further amplify and expand the digital studio's portfolio through YouTube Shorts.

First, the team analyzed TheSoul's content archive to find what's performed best in the past. TheSoul would use these insights to improve its short-form video offering, making it more engaging and suited to the YouTube Shorts format while enhancing the studio's unique business model. Using those insights as a foundation, the company improved its decentralized production strategy to optimize both:

  1. The adaptation of its wildly popular universe of online brands into YouTube Shorts' short-form format.

  2. The development of new brands, characters, and stories made to be consumed in YouTube Short’s unique viewing experience.

TheSoul's "no meetings" and "no internal email" policies, both implemented company-wide, were instrumental in achieving this goal. They helped by significantly increasing the company's capacity to test and learn what the platform’s audience engages with most, which then informed the creative direction and development of new YouTube Short-friendly brands. Those policies:

In other words, TheSoul wanted to make the most of its brand-safe entertainment programming distributed in specialized genres like DIY, cooking, music, beauty and lifestyle, lifehacks, and animation to build an engaged YouTube Shorts audience that allowed the successful development of new brands while also expanding our established portfolio’s offering. 

As a result, TheSoul harnessed the platform's growth and developed the ability to quickly react to and produce highly customized content for both larger emerging trends in audience content consumption and quickly emerging viral short-form video trends. 

While TheSoul was able to:

This was made possible by TheSoul's strategy, which kept playing to its advantages as a highly adaptable, original, and creative studio — a quality necessary for success as new platforms appear and existing ones change.


In 2022, TheSoul Publishing achieved more than 75 billion views on its short-form video content (under one minute) across platforms, more than three times what was achieved the year prior.

TheSoul’s focus on YouTube Shorts-friendly brands paid off and the studio now has three of the most-viewed Shorts channels in the world.

The studio's Shorts-dedicated channel SMOL had over 1 billion monthly views in 2022

Underserved niches, such as crafting, recycling, and parenting advice, were also promising to TheSoul:

Success spread as TheSoul's existing portfolio continued to grow its viewership and watch time on YouTube, making it the world's most popular digital publisher:

Overall in 2022, TheSoul launched highly-successful original YouTube Short-friendly brands and quickly transformed existing positive content into engaging YouTube Shorts formats that appealed to a wide audience, especially the Gen Z demographics.


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Entrant Company / Organization Name

TheSoul Publishing