Ozy Media became the darling of Madison Avenue in recent months, with advertisers seeing the media company co-founded by Carlos Watson as a way to reach not only younger, socially-conscious consumers, but also diverse audiences often underrepresented in their media budgets. Now Ozy is shutting down according to the New York Times, just days after scathing reports about the media company's business practices.
“At Ozy, we have been blessed with a remarkable team of dedicated staff,” the company’s board of directors said in a statement to the New York Times. “Many of them are world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe tremendous gratitude and who are wonderful colleagues. It is therefore with the heaviest of hearts that we must announce today that we are closing Ozy’s doors.”
Earlier on Friday, GroupM was advising its clients to pause all ad campaigns on Ozy Media following reports of shady business practices that included overstating its audience size. The ad agency, which struck a deal with the media company co-founded by Carlos Watson, was recommending all of its clients take a step back as it evaluates the situation, according to a person familiar with these conversations.
GroupM’s clients represented about $10 million in revenue for Ozy.