Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media and a $40 Million Conference Call Gone Wrong

Different figures appear off, however are tougher to confirm. Ozy instructed Axios in January that the corporate’s newsletters had “greater than 20 million subscribers.” By comparability, the Morning Brew, a profitable newsletter-based enterprise media firm, says it has three million subscribers.

“I’ve by no means heard a proof of Ozy that made sense to me,” mentioned Brian Morrissey, the previous editor in chief of Digiday, a publication masking digital media and the tech business, who now writes The Rebooting, a publication centered on media companies. He mentioned he was struck by the corporate’s claims, including, “then you definately do the intestine test, and by no means as soon as in my life has a piece of content material from Ozy crossed into my world organically.”

Mr. Watson mentioned within the e mail that he understood the skepticism however that Ozy’s progress “has been fully actual.”

“It’s the results of our crew appearing fairly fearlessly to launch and develop 5 newsletters, 12 TV exhibits, six podcasts, now 4 annual festivals beginning subsequent yr, and the Ozy Genius Awards,” he mentioned. “Every of our verticals is prospering, and we stand fully behind our numbers and efficiency.”

However the firm has overstated its success on huge platforms, in addition to the energy of its relationship with them. Billboards in Los Angeles, for example, say that “The Carlos Watson Present” is “Amazon Prime’s First Discuss Present.” In actual fact, Ozy has been importing the present to the platform by a service referred to as “video direct,” which many YouTube channels use to select up additional views on Amazon’s video platform however which receives no promotion from Amazon Prime Video itself. Final week, Amazon complained that Ozy’s use of its model identify on the billboards violated promotion tips; Ozy apologized and promised to take down the indicators, an Amazon Prime Video spokesman mentioned.

Mr. Watson mentioned the billboards’ declare was “correct,” however confirmed that the corporate would cease making that declare at Amazon’s request.

Ozy additionally markets Mr. Watson’s present as “the fastest-growing speak present in YouTube historical past,” a quote that seems to be drawn from a query posed by a host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” throughout Mr. Watson’s look final yr. Requested concerning the declare, Mr. Watson mentioned that his present had extra views than some other “premium day by day speak present we’ve been capable of determine that was launched on YouTube.”

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