The Try Guys’ Next Act: A New Streaming Service, in a Shift from YouTube (2024)

The Try Guys’ Next Act: A New Streaming Service, in a Shift from YouTube (1)

The Try Guys have made careers on YouTube by, well, trying new things.

That has included unique experiences, eating entire menus, social experiments, baking and cooking competitions, and other formats that have helped deliver more than 8 million YouTube subscribers, and millions more on other social platforms.

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Now, the group is trying arguably their biggest thing yet: A new business model.

On Wednesday, The Try Guys (Zach Kornfeld, Keith Habersberger and Eugene Lee Yang) are launching their own branded subscription streaming service, 2nd Try, in a shift away from YouTube as their core source of monetizing the content they produce.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen both the joys and the limits of algorithmic media making,” Kornfeld tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “It obviously has its benefits, it has given us a career! But increasingly we find that our tastes and more importantly, our audience’s taste is at odds with what the algorithm wants. So for us to succeed moving forward and making the best stuff possible for our audience, it requires removing us from that system and creating a place where we don’t have to chase our audience.”

“YouTube, ultimately, is meant to evolve to do what’s best for YouTube and Google as a company, and that’s great. And that algorithm has absolutely favored us in our many times of growth,” Habersberger adds. “And that’s been great. But it also constantly changes and to stay relevant you have to change with it … The stuff that your audience loves, isn’t necessarily necessarily algorithmically optimized to do well on a platform. And, you know, just in general, having an ad-based business means that your business fluctuates with the general economy, the changes of another business.”

The result of that effort is 2ndTry.tv, a new ad-free streaming service and app, launching Wednesday, that the group hopes will better align the audience it has created on YouTube with a business model that they think is sustainable. 2nd Try will cost $4.99 per month (though Kornfeld and Habersberger say there will be lots of promotions to get it for less), with plans to roll out shows monthly, some with multiple episodes dropped at once, and others rolled out each week.

That being said, the group is not planning to leave YouTube altogether. In fact, they hope to keep their cadence there almost the same as it is now. The plan, however, is to lean on it as a marketing tool for 2nd Try, to encourage viewers to give their own platform a chance.

“[YouTube] is how we find our find new audiences, it’s how we get people excited about our shows,” Kornfeld says. “I think what excites us is that we now get to treat YouTube and any other social media platform as just that, a social media platform, where we are using it to reach new people and excite them as opposed to entirely relying on our ability to survive as a business on them and their ad dollars.”

“You need feedback, and YouTube and all these social media sites give us that real time feedback,” Habersberger adds. “So we’re still making stuff for that audience. That’s a big audience that’s gotten free content from us for 10 years. We want to keep doing that because we gain a lot from it. And you know, ad revenue still is a part of our business. It’s a part of making anything for anybody.”

The group is also shaking up the cast of its videos.

Originally founded by Kornfeld, Yang, Habersberger and former member Ned Fulmer at BuzzFeed, the group is set to add a number of other faces (some familiar to viewers of their YouTube channel) who will become more frequent collaborators.

That includes people like JonnyCakes, Kwesi James, Miles Bonsignore and a show from their former BuzzFeed colleague Ash Perez “about the comedy and joys of transitioning.”

In another major move, Yang is set to depart the group after this year, which following Fulmer’s 2022 departure (which made national headlines itself), will leave just Kornfeld and Habersberger as the two remaining original Try Guys.

“For so long we said there would never be a new fourth Try Guy, that the Try Guys was what it was, and that’s how it is. And it’s true. We’re not adding a fourth, we’re adding way more than that,” Habersberger says. “And I think that is a big change that’s happening, is really adding more people to our content so more people can tell their stories and more people can experience those stories, so it’s a big change. It’s really been — especially over the last two years — sort of the Keith and Zach show and I don’t think that’s the best show we can make. I think we can make a lot better stuff with some more collaborators.”

“The Try Guys has always relied heavily on having this really talented ensemble,” Kornfeld adds. “And as we grew, we found the limits of what we can do within the current ensemble. And so to be able to give this big jolt of energy over the last year and change, we’ve been working with new friends, old friends, and it’s just really enriched everything we’ve done.”

The group believes that they have built up an audience — and a value proposition — that will help them make the move to their own platform, and build out a sustainable studio business.

“This is not only reinvigorating us because it’s something new and hard… trying stuff that we don’t know makes us do better,” Habersberger says. “But also it is sort of unifying our whole company into trying something together. It’s really exciting and hard, and I think our audience will see that and get excited about it.”

And they are acutely aware of the subscription fatigue that many of the larger corporate streaming services are trying to navigate.

“Ultimately people don’t sign up for things because they love the idea of another subscription, lord knows we all have plenty of them,” Kornfeld says. “The worst thing that we could do would be to take away things that people love, and change the way people experience our product. All we can do is offer something new and hope that we’ve cultivated enough trust that they like what we make, and they believe in our ability to make new things that are worth their dollar.”

The initial slate of 2nd Try is below.

Escape The Kitchen — Amateur chefs are trapped in an escape room kitchen and must solve cryptic puzzles to unlock each step of the recipe.

Trolley Problems — No matter what they choose, they lose. Taking a cruel twist on the iconic morality question, Zach challenges friends to a series of increasingly impossible would you rather’s and forces them to act it out.

Smoke Show — A hangout interview show that tries to get to the bottom of the actual difference between strains. The season premiere kicks off with Cheech & Chong!

Eat The Menu and introducing After The Menu — Keith takes on the full menu of the world’s most popular chains. Stick around for a brand new after-show where Keith navigates his food coma delirium with games and fan questions.

Fun City (coming this Fall) — American cities are turned into scavenger hunts as two teams compete to earn the most points (and have the most fun).

Without A Recipe: All-Star Season — The world’s most inept chefs guess their way through popular recipes. Coming this winter, our biggest show is back with its biggest season ever. 12 terrible chefs enter. Only one will be crowned the Without A Recipe Champion.

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The Try Guys’ Next Act: A New Streaming Service, in a Shift from YouTube (2024)

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