I’m a quite Highly Online Person, and I had never heard of Ozy before this week, apparently because it was pretty much a Silicon Valley Ponzi scheme with no actual audience:
Ozy, whose motto was “the new and the next,” had its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., not far from the start-ups that had built themselves into multibillion-dollar giants. It employed roughly 75 people to create articles, videos, podcasts and newsletters on a range of topics, from espionage to the appeal of Grandma’s kitchen. Many of the videos and television shows that Ozy also sold starred Mr. Watson in conversation with politicians and pop culture celebrities, a group that included Joseph R. Biden Jr., Hillary Clinton and John Legend.
Ozy’s appearance of success depended to some degree on the performance of its videos on YouTube. On the conference call in February, the person posing as a YouTube executive told the Goldman Sachs team that Ozy was a great success on the platform.
In an article in The Times on Thursday, Brad Bessey, an Emmy-winning executive producer, and Heidi Clements, a longtime TV writer, said Ozy executives had misled them while they were working on “The Carlos Watson Show,” Mr. Watson’s talk show, for the company. Specifically, they said, executives told them that the show would appear on the cable network A&E. Mr. Bessey resigned when he learned there was no such deal in place, and the show ended up appearing on YouTube and the Ozy website.
Also this week: Advertisers including Chevrolet, Walmart, Facebook, Target and Goldman Sachs itself — many of which had been paying for placement on “The Carlos Watson Show” — hit the brakes on their spending with Ozy.
By Friday afternoon, Mr. Watson and the other remaining board member, Michael Moe (another high-profile investment figure, who had published a book called “Finding the Next Starbucks”), concluded that the company could not recover and issued the farewell statement through a spokeswoman.
Mr. Watson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
CNN, Insider and other publications reported this week that working conditions at Ozy were difficult, and The Times, along with other publications, raised questions about the company’s claims of audience size for its online videos and website.
“What if cable news was even more boring and mostly on YouTube” is a model that seems incredibly attractive to venture capital dipshits and their media business equivalents and literally nobody else.