- After the demise of Defy Media, Clevver Media cofounder Joslyn Davis and talent/producer Lily Marston have launched a new YouTube-focused endeavor, Shared Media.
- The pair told Business Insider they are bringing it "back to basics," and that this new project will focus on their dynamic as friends.
- It will produce weekly original content to two YouTube channels, Shared Channel and Shared News.
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From the ashes of Defy Media, Clevver stars Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston have launched a new YouTube-focused media venture: Shared Media. The new company will focus on Davis and Marston’s dynamic as friends and produce weekly original content, they told Business Insider in a recent interview.
Defy Media was formed in 2013 in a merger between Alloy Digital, which acquired Clevver Media in 2012, and Break Media. After a series of cutbacks, Defy abruptly shut down in November 2018 and Hearst Magazines bought the Clevver brand in February.
"If you would have told me, even last week, that these are the circumstances – I would have laughed," Davis said in a video she uploaded following the Defy shutdown. She described it as the "most challenging thing I’ve been through professionally."
Marston and Davis both signed short-term talent deals with Clevver under its new ownership, but the contracts have expired, they told Business Insider. (They are, however, open to opportunities to work with Clevver in the future, Davis added.)
Davis and her Clevver Media cofounder, Jorge Maldonado, decided to take what they’d learned from launching Clevver and build a new project along with Marston. Shared Media is a self-funded endeavor that currently runs two YouTube channels, Shared Channel and Shared News, with original content produced by a small number of founding employees.
"I think it’s an exciting opportunity for us to get back to basics and really just focus on creating content we are excited about and not necessarily being made as a vehicle to sell – or under the advice or guidance of people who are not on our team," Davis told Business Insider.
"We have a small but mighty team," Davis said. "We’ve been really intentional when it comes to hiring and picking out what type of staff members we need."
Second time around
Davis said one difference this time around is that unlike Clevver, Shared Media isn’t a true garage startup.
"We definitely have a much more elegant situation happening," Davis said. "We have air conditioning and snacks, which is always awesome." Still, the new company has not taken outside investment, remaining bootstrapped.
And looking back, the pair said they would not join a Multi Channel Network (MCN), like Defy originally was, again.
"While having a large team can be great, sometimes having a smaller, more focused/dedicated group working together can be far more beneficial when it comes to following through with the original vision," Davis said.
Fans can expect content on the Shared Channel to feel like an intimate hangout, yet look like a talk show.
"We want [the content] to be free, but also want it to be premium and awesome," Davis said. "All of the things that a YouTube audience would want and maybe a brand would want, too. We totally understand how to create content for a large brand, premium content that, who knows, maybe you would even see on television or something like that."
Clevver had a show in partnership with Go90, Verizon’s ill-fated free mobile video service, which was discontinued in July 2018, and Davis said they wouldn’t be opposed to partnering with a similar streaming platform to help with larger scale content creation – but they aren’t waiting around for it.
"I would say we are very excited to partner with companies in the future," Davis said. "Whether it makes sense for us to go out and find investors, or just partner with companies on content."
Davis and Marston have worked with brands like Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and Audible on their personal YouTube channels. They want to create similar partnerships at Shared Media, and plan to diversify revenue, whether that be through syndication partnerships or larger-scale opportunities to create content with a streaming platform.
‘Before things got a little too corporate’
The Shared Channel, which has 71,000 subscribers on YouTube, launched June 14, and will produce content twice a week and have special guests on a recurring show, "Over Share," Marston said. "Over Share’s" first guest is YouTube star Remi Cruz, @MissRemiAshten on YouTube, who has over 2.5 million subscribers.
The second leg of Shared Media is the pop-culture news channel, Shared News, which launched June 7 and has since gained 17,000 subscribers on YouTube.
"For Joslyn and I, it has always been much more about our dynamic as friends than the content itself," Marston said. "I think that being able to play into our relationship and get a little more into our personal lives too, and just kind of have fun and do what we want to do, will set it apart just because we are really calling all of the shots and doing what we want. We can come together and do stuff like we used to back in the day before things got a little too corporate."
Marston and Davis also plan to introduce their audience to emerging creators and help them in business and production.
"We are looking for people who are already passionate and dedicated about their content, but need that extra push," Davis said.
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