Hearst Magazines Acquires Clevver Following Defy Media Shutdown (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Defy

The pop culture news brand has more than 15 million subscribers across its YouTube channels.

Clevver has found a new home following the fall shutdown of owner Defy Media. 

Hearst Magazines has acquired the pop culture news brand, a company spokeswoman confirms to The Hollywood Reporter. The deal brings together Clevver's YouTube audience of over 15 million subscribers with the magazine publisher's digital business, which has an audience of around 128 million users each month. 

"Clevver's content entertains and engages more than 15 million subscribers," the spokeswoman said Friday in a statement. "This investment underscores our commitment to premium video that super-serves our audience of young women and will further accelerate our growth on YouTube and other digital video platforms." 

Sister brand Smosh, meanwhile, is in talks with Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment about a sale, according to sources familiar with the deal. It would be a team-up of two of YouTube's earliest and biggest comedy channels. Smosh, which was founded by Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox before YouTube had even launched, has more than 24 million subscribers to its main channel, while Rhett & Link have been making episodes of talk show Good Mythical Morning since 2012 and, in addition to now having more than 15 million subscribers to the channel, have built a whole production business around the brand. Representatives for Mythical Entertainment and Hecox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Clevver and Smosh were left without corporate homes in November when partner company Defy Media abruptly shut down. After a brief hiatus, both YouTube-centric brands were back up and running even as the founders and hosts were left with few answers about the fate of their businesses. At the time of the shutdown, a spokeswoman said that a small team would remain at Defy to help sell the brands to new owners. "We are not going anywhere," Clevver host Erin Robinson told viewers in one video. 

Clevver was founded in 2006 and sold to Alloy Digital, which would later merge with Break Media to form Defy, in 2012. Joslyn Davis is Clevver's longtime host and producer alongside Robinson. 

Variety first reported the news of Smosh's talks with Mythical Entertainment.