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Defy Media has sold its Screen Junkies entertainment brand to digital publisher Fandom.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, comes amid reports of financial troubles at Defy, which is known for such brands as Smosh and Clevver.
San Francisco-based Fandom announced the acquisition of Screen Junkies, which produces the popular Honest Trailers YouTube series, in a blog post. “We’re all about finding ways for you to best fuel your fandoms and in bringing Screen Junkies into our purview, this is yet another way in which we’ll be able to do that,” wrote Neha Tiwari, vp video strategy and operations at Fandom. “There are so many similarities between who Screen Junkies and Fandom are and in our deep commitment to you, the fans.”
Screen Junkies launched seven years ago on YouTube with commentary about entertainment and pop culture. It currently has 6.4 million subscribers and more than 2 billion total views. In October, Defy fired Screen Junkies creator Andy Signore following sexual harassment claims. At the time, Defy brought in a third party to assess how the HR department handled complaints brought by the accusers. Screen Junkies also put Honest Trailers on a brief hiatus as it figured out how to move forward without the brand’s creator.
“Screen Junkies has been and continues to be an immensely popular brand with a large, passionate audience,” said a Defy representative of the sale. “The future programming of the brand requires increased focus and additional investment. 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. We will continue to be huge fans of Screen Junkies and will be among the millions of viewers each week watching Honest Trailers, as we have done for the past six years.”
Defy Media, which was established by the 2013 merger of Break Media and Alloy Digital, is currently the subject of complaints from several of its publishers, which claim that it owes them money for ads that ran on its programmatic ad network, which has been shut down. Defy laid off about 20 employees in March as part of the closing of its programmatic ad business. “We suspended those operations while we focus on our owned and operated brands and partner relationships,” the Defy rep said in a statement. “We have been engaging in conversations directly with many affected publishers regarding payment timelines as part of this process and are taking steps to improve our communications with those impacted.”
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