Defy Media sells off its second brand in the past 30 days
Defy Media has sold its 13-year old website — The Escapist — to Enthusiast Gaming, a Toronto-based company that operates a network of websites devoted to video gaming. Under the new management, Russ Pits, the Escapist’s former editor in chief who departed in September 2011, will return to fill his former role at the gaming-centric website.
“Today’s Escapist Magazine is not going to be what it was before. (Or even what it was before that.) I think you’ll be surprised, and even maybe a little enchanted with what we have planned,” Pitts wrote in a blog post. “But a lot of what Escapist Magazine will be is still waiting to be discovered. I’m assembling an editorial team right now to help me discover it.”
Pits has a lot of work cut out for himself. The editor in chief explained in his blog post that the when he found out Defy was selling the property, back in 2017, it had been severely neglected. “Almost everyone who had worked there had been laid off,” he explained. “The offices in North Carolina had been closed. Nobody was even bothering to sell ads on the thing.”
“We know the next few days/weeks/months will be hard,” he continued. “We have some hard choices to make. I’m putting my own name and career on the line to help make sure we get it right. I hope that means something to you.”
This is the second property Defy Media has sold in the past 30 days. At the start of July, the company announced it had sold Screen Junkies to Fandom for an undisclosed price. The shedding of the two properties will give the company more time to focus on its more popular brands Smosh and Clevvr, though it may decide to sell those off too, according to sources.
The news comes just 5 months after the company laid off 8 percent of its staff as a result of restructuring within in the company’s product/tech, creative services, and programmatic advertising departments.