In a Jan. 24 video, YouTuber Matthew Patrick, better known as MatPat, makes a blunt point about the rough-and-tumble world of YouTube creators: “The bigger you get, the more willing people are looking to cheat you, exploit you, use you and throw you away.” The impetus: The meltdown of Defy Media, a multichannel network, meant Patrick and other YouTubers were out what he estimates to be $1.7 million in fees they are due from running ad campaigns on behalf of Defy clients.

Defy is just one of the MCNs that has collapsed as the industry struggled to adapt and survive in the changing world of digital video. Machinima, which had been owned by AT&T, closed in February. Disney acquired Maker in 2014 and has, over the years, reduced the property. Big Frame got bought in 2014 by AwesomenessTV, which itself faced layoffs in August 2018 under parent Viacom.

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