Defy Media, Home To Smosh And Clevver, Ceases Operations — Update

UPDATE: The story is updated with a statement from the company

Defy Media, a company known for such millennial-focused digital brands as SMOSH, Break and Clevver, said it ceased operations today and is laying off all of its employees.

The company issued a statement blaming market conditions for getting in the way of it accomplishing its business goals.

“Our main focus now is to find homes for these great brands and people so that they can continue to thrill and delight their millions of viewers with as little interruption as possible,” the company said in a statement.

Initial reports said Defy Media would be shutting down its production offices in Beverly Hills, and laying off at least 80 employees. The publication TubeFilter obtained a notice sent to employees informing them of the closing and informing them they would be paid through Jan. 2.

Defy Media was formed from the 2013 merger of Alloy Digital and Break Media, and raised $70 million in venture funding in September 2016, in a round led by Wellington Management. The digital media company made its mark creating content for youthful, digital-first viewers. Its various entertainment brands attract some 75 million YouTube subscribers and 120 million followers on social media.

Like many digital media companies, Defy has tried to use its social media popularity as a springboard to other platforms, like television. In 2017, it struck a partnership with Comedy Central International to develop new episodes of the SMOSH comedy series Every Blank Ever for the network’s digital platforms.

Defy Media began to show signs of struggle earlier this year, when it laid off about 8% of its workforce in March and shut down unprofitable divisions, including a programmatic ad business, which sold ads to third-party publishers with inventory.

“The changes we made were to accelerate profitability,” CEO Matt Dimond was quoted as saying at the time. “For us, we feel strongly that being profitable and building around your brands is critical in this market.”

In June, Defy Media was hit with a civil suit filed by the internet news site Topix, claiming it was owed $300,000 for ads that Defy’s now-defunct programmatic ad network ran on its site.

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