Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media, and a $ 40 million conference call failed

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Other numbers seem wrong but are harder to verify. Ozy told Axios in January that the company’s newsletters had “more than 20 million subscribers”. For comparison: Morning Brew, a successful newsletter-based business media company, claims to have three million subscribers.

“I’ve never heard a statement from Ozy that made sense to me,” said Brian Morrissey, former editor-in-chief of Digiday, a digital media and tech publication that now writes The Rebooting, a newsletter focusing on media companies . Said he was impressed with the company’s claims, adding, “Then you do the belly check, and never in my life has any content from Ozy entered my world organically.”

Mr Watson said in the email that he understood the skepticism but that Ozy’s growth “was totally real”.

“Our team has acted fairly fearlessly, launching and expanding five newsletters, 12 TV shows, six podcasts, now four annual festivals starting next year, and the Ozy Genius Awards,” he said. “Each of our industries is flourishing and we fully support our numbers and our performance.”

But the company has overstated its success on large platforms as well as the strength of its relationship with them. For example, billboards in Los Angeles say “The Carlos Watson Show” is “Amazon Prime’s First Talk Show”. In fact, Ozy uploaded the show to the platform through a service called Video Direct, which many YouTube channels use to generate additional views on Amazon’s video platform, but which does not receive any advertising from Amazon Prime Video itself. Last week, Amazon complained that Ozy’s use of his brand name on billboards was against advertising guidelines; Ozy apologized and promised to remove the signs, a spokesman for Amazon Prime Video said.

Mr Watson said the billboards’ claim was “accurate” but confirmed that the company would discontinue that claim at Amazon’s request.

Ozy also markets Mr. Watson’s show as “the fastest growing talk show in YouTube history,” a quote that appears to come from a question asked by a host on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​during Mr. Watson’s appearance last year . When asked about the claim, Mr Watson said his show had more views than any other “premium daily talk show we could identify that started on YouTube”.


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