OG CEO: ‘Premature’ to shut down after weeks of scandal

Ozzy Media CEO Carlos Watson says it was “premature” to shut down and wanted to operate despite a scandal-ridden week that exposed Ozzy as a media company without an audience.

NEW YORK – Ozzy Media’s CEO said Monday that the company was “premature” to shut down and wanted to continue operating despite a scandal-ridden week that exposed Ozzy as an outlet without an audience. did.

Carlos Watson, the former cable-news commentator and host who founded Ozzy in 2013, told CNBC that he met with advertisers and investors over the weekend and wants Ozzy to continue.

In an emailed statement on Monday, the company described last week’s troubles as “a bump in the road” that it is “committed to let the past happen,” saying “we’re excited to reopen.” and expect to resume operations in the next few days.” OG is trying to get employees back and said the newsletter will resume this week and video production at the end of the month.

Ozzy’s board of directors said on Friday that the company was ceasing operations. The shutdown came less than a week after a New York Times column questioned the media organization’s claims of millions of viewers and readers, while also pointing to a possible case of securities fraud.

The story triggered canceled shows, an internal investigation, investor concern and high-level departures at the company before it closed on Friday.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Ozzie, which had raised more than $70 million from investors by the end of 2019, has long been suspected of increasing its audience size, according to the website CrunchBase. Watson claimed last week that Ozzy’s newsletter had 25 million subscribers and 30 million views on YouTube. The New York Times, with a huge brand presence, says it has 15 million newsletter readers. According to comScore data, the newspaper reported that less than 500,000 people visited Ozzy’s website in June and July. Instead of building a genuine base of readers and viewers, Ozzy was paying too much for its audience.

To generate a resume, the company must re-establish trust with employees, advertisers, and investors. It suddenly stopped, irritating the employees. It is stuck in many dishonest conditions apart from traffic. It reportedly told people working on its interview series, “The Carlos Watson Show” that it would be on cable TV, but then the episodes were just uploaded to YouTube. Watson interviewed celebrities such as Bill Gates and Matthew McConaughey for the online show. On CNBC Monday, Watson said, “We originally envisioned the show with A&E,” and then “moved to YouTube,” and “there was a lot of miscommunication.”

On Thursday, hedge-fund billionaire and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner, Mark Larry, who was named Ozzie’s chairman in September, resigned, citing Ozzy’s need for someone experienced in crisis management and investigation. He remained an investor. A high-profile employee, former BBC anchor Katy Kay, resigned earlier this week, and an early investor, a venture capital firm, gave up her Ozzie shares. The board reportedly hired a law firm to review Ozzy’s business activities.


Matt Ott contributed to this report.


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