Defy Media is in the process of tendering roughly 20 layoffs — representing about 8% of its workforce — as it shuts down two unprofitable divisions to focus on its flagship content brands, including Smosh, Clevver, and Screen Junkies.
The company will shutter its programmatic advertising and and licensing and video syndication divisions, according to Variety. Defy Media CEO Matt Diamond told the outlet that both ventures represented “tactical businesses” for the company, and added that the layoffs will conclude next week, whereupon Defy’s total employee count will be around 225. “The changes we made were to accelerate profitability,” he said. “For us, we feel strongly that being profitable and building around your brands is critical in this market.”
Despite rumors that Defy is seeking a sale, Diamond told Variety that the company is not “actively selling ourselves.” The company raised $70 million in venture funding in 2016, and considered raising more funds in 2017, Diamond said, but ultimately decided against it earlier this year due to underwhelming offers.
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In addition to its digital content business, Defy sees growth opportunities in the TV space. To this end, the company announced a partnership yesterday with international production company GRB Entertainment — which is behind the A&E hit Intervention — to develop and distribute an original slate of television shows based on Defy’s popular short-form franchises. Previously, GRB had acquired international distribution rights to two Defy series: Man At Arms an Super Fan Builds — in which Hollywood prop builders surprise superfans with craft projects.
Defy isn’t the only digital media company announce substantial layoffs in recent months amid a turbulent time across the industry. Funny Or Die, Vox, CNN, Refinery29, Mashable, and BuzzFeed have all announced cuts of their own.