Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines.
Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their own independent YouTube network. Like Clevver, the new venture will target millennial female viewers, with two channels: a personality-driven collab channel led by Davis and Marston, and one delivering daily dispatches on trending topics and entertainment news.
“I’m done building things for other people,” Davis said in an interview with Variety. “Our goal is to create amazing content that is fueled by a female team — content that is made for, and by, women.”
Shared Media, operating from office and studio space in Culver City, Calif., is self-funded by the three founders with no outside investors for now. Davis and Marston have been teasing the launch of the venture for the last several days on social media and officially are announcing Shared Media in a video Friday.
According to Davis, she was one of the few Defy Media employees who wasn’t pink-slipped when the company folded last November after failing to find a buyer or new financing. After Hearst bought Clevver in February, Davis inked a limited contract to work five days over a three-month period. Now she’s focused full-time on Shared Media. She didn’t rule out future appearances with Hearst-owned Clevver and added, “Regardless, I’m going to be the biggest cheerleader of the Clevver brand. It’s something strong, with a dedicated audience.”
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On the newly launched Shared Channel, Davis and Marston will invite fellow YouTubers into the studio to make collab videos, running the gamut from creators with 50 subscribers to millions, according to Davis. They expect to produce one or two videos each week. “It’s content our audience has asked for over the years,” she said. Among the first their first guests is vlogger Remi Cruz, aka MissRemiAshten.
Shared News, which soft-launched last week, is being run by host/producer Renee Ariel (previously of ClevverNews and Trendy), assistant producer/reporter Fiona Zaring, and executive producer Lisa Hiser, former head of ClevverNews who previously has worked for celebrities including the Jonas Brothers. Davis and Marston also plan to pop in on the Shared News channel from time to time.
The Shared Media team. Front row: Joslyn Davis (left) and Lily Marston. Back row (l. to r.): Lisa Hiser, Fiona Zaring, Jorge Maldonado, Renee Ariel
Davis joined Clevver way back in 2008 — when the startup was shooting video out of Maldonado’s garage — after she tried to break into TV news. Marston started at Clevver Media in 2012 as an intern for Davis, before working her way up to being a producer and host for ClevverTV.
Davis acknowledged the challenges involved in getting an independent, self-funded venture off the ground. “This is scary. We know that,” she said.
Shared Media expects to earn ad revenue through YouTube’s Partner Program and the company also is seeking brand-sponsorship deals. After years in the YouTube biz, the Shared Media team has become experienced running a lean operation, she added: “We have an understanding of what’s nice to have and what we can live without.”
Another part of Shared Media’s mission to create a mentor-led incubator for emerging female YouTube talent with the aim helping them avoid burnout and develop sustainable careers. “We want to share the knowledge we have gained, so no one has to go through what we and our coworkers went through at Defy,” Davis said. “On a personal and professional level, it was so devastating what that put people through.”
Another ex-Defy property, Smosh, was bought earlier this year by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal’s Mythical Entertainment.
Watch the Shared Media launch video from Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston: