Defy Media, a creator of video content for young adults, has allegedly been denying payment from small, third-party publishers for ads posted on their sites.
According to a Reddit thread entitled, “How much does Defy Media owe you,” a series of responses claimed that the company, which owns hubs such as Clevver TV, how-to channel AweMe, and TV/movie review site Screen Junkies, owed various publishers: some around $5,000, others in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, some publishers reached out to Defy and its president Keith Richman via Twitter, claiming that the members of the company scolded them for being “too pushy” in requesting money owed.
Now being scolded by someone at the company for being too pushy for money that I never received from March when it is now June + after sending multiple emails. It's going swimmingly.
— Madeline Distasio (@MaddieDistasio) June 1, 2018
Hey fans of @smosh@mademan@gurldotcom@PrankitFWD@ClevverTV did you know that the company that owns your fav channels (@defymedia@keithrichman) is refusing to pay us smaller publishers. Would appreciate you letting them know that's not cool. Thank you!
— Bourbon & Banter (@BourbonBanter) May 31, 2018
In March, Variety announced that Defy laid off 8% of their staff, in what Richman told Variety was an exit of ‘tactical businesses,’ including a programmatic ad offering that sold ads into third-party sites, and a separate licensing and syndication offering. In the piece, Richman said that the company would be shifting its focus to owned properties, and that the programmatic offering and employees working on it would be able to continue operating properly.
Programmatic has been viewed as a method of ad buying that gives returns to third-party sell-side platforms (SSPs) late, sometimes within 120 days, said AdExchanger. Based off the allegations made against Defy on social media and forum, the claims add up to what could be over a million dollars in money owed.
Dear @iab board members, what do you think of @defymedia, #MattewDiamond & @keithrichman refusing to pay their ad network partners while continuing to line their own pockets? Looks like a nice black eye for your everyone in the industry. What do you think? https://t.co/r6Oo3jFF9R
— Bourbon & Banter (@BourbonBanter) June 1, 2018
The Drum has reached out for comment from Defy Media and Viacom, reportedly a shareholder in the business. Multiple calls to Defy went to a full voicemail, further hindering a request for comments.