In February, we reported that Defy Media, the company that operates SMOSH, Clevver, and Screen Junkies, was in talks of selling off its independent assets. It’s been several months since that report and today the company has officially announced that it has sold off one of its most popular brands — Screen Junkies — to Fandom, a site focused on avid entertainment buffs. Financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.
“The future programming of the [Screen Junkies] brand requires increased focus and additional investment,” said a spokesperson for Defy in a statement. “When presented with the opportunity to sell Screen Junkies to Fandom, another highly respected name in movie and TV fan culture with similar brand alignment, it was clear that this was the right pathway for Screen Junkies and its audience.”
The selling off of Screen Junkies comes less than five months after the company reduced its workforce by 8 percent which was a result of restructuring within in the company’s product/tech, creative services, and programmatic advertising departments. Sources familiar with the matter say the layoffs came at the end of a two year long, unsuccessful attempt by Defy to find a buyer willing to pay upwards of $150 million for the company.
Layoffs haven’t been the only bad news for the company. In recent months, Defy has been accused of withholding more than $350K from its smaller publishers. Complaints of missed payments first emerged on Twitter around April and quickly multiplied as the months went on. Publishers who are owed money say that the company has been in little to no communication with them over the issue.
“Hey, @defymedia @keithrichman, I sent another email yesterday requesting an update on payment,” Tweeted one upset publisher with the username of BourbonBanter. “Still no response. I could be paranoid but I’m starting to wonder if you’re planning on stiffing me on the money you owe me. Damn, you’re not doing this to everyone are you?”
In recent weeks, Defy has offered to pay select publishers 20 percent of what they’re owed for ads that the company sold on their sites as part of its programmatic ad network, according to a report from Digiday.