Multiple Creators Claim Omnia Media Has Been Paying Late 

Omnia Media investigation
Omnia Media Yeti Studio/Adobe Stock de Art/Adobe Stock

James Simons, known to his 2.1 million YouTube subscribers as Leon Lush, thought joining Omnia Media was smart in 2017. The multi-channel network (MCN) represented huge YouTubers like The SideMen and The Misfits. In exchange for 10 percent of his earnings (which, a year later, he says he negotiated down to nothing), Simons says Omnia promised it would help him grow his channel and brand. 

But other than a sponsor deal in 2020, Simons told Passionfruit that Omnia was “just a pass-through providing no actual value.” And it was too much of a pain to leave.

“The process of leaving a network and re-linking the Google dashboard with AdSense was so daunting that I was never proactive about leaving,” Simons said. 

That nuisance transformed into a real problem. In late 2023, the MCN pushed its payment window, originally scheduled at the end of the month, to “30 days from the normal,” Simons said.

Simons claims this delay in payments continued over months, with the company eventually owing him “almost six figures.” He says his contacts “ghosted” his emails, unable to “give a date when the payments would be disbursed.”

After leaving the organization in January 2024, Simons said Omnia finally paid him. But his final December payment did not arrive until April 18.

“They are washed, that business model is dead,” Simons continued. “They provide almost nothing of value that a creator can’t get from someone else who is better suited for the job.” 

Simons is just one of multiple creators who have accused Omnia Media and its parent company, Enthusiast Gaming, of either missing payments, paying late, or not paying at all. Since the start of January 2024, at least six creators have spoken up online or shared their stories with Passionfruit about the MCN.

What Is Omnia Media? 

Omnia Media, which claims to have “over 500 talent” in the gaming space, was founded in 2013 by Tamoor Shafi. Just two years later, the company amassed a collection of over 140 influencers across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Pinterest, and Snapchat, according to TheWrap.

“We have become one of the most powerful amplifiers of compelling, talented voices in the industry. And our accelerating growth enables us to capitalize on emerging market trends,” Shafi told TheWrap in 2015. 

The network continued to grow, and Canadian indie development company Blue Ant acquired it in 2016. It then replaced Shafi as CEO with the former head of YouTube Canada, David Brown.

In 2020, a new company purchased it again. This time, Canadian digital media company Enthusiast Gaming. Omnia joined Enthusiast’s roster of over 50 websites and esports team Luminosity

But just a few short years later, Enthusiast Gaming was in turmoil. In 2022, shareholders authored a letter to have CEO Adrian Montgomery resign, according to the Washington Post. By 2023, things were not going well for Enthusiast Gaming. It had gone through multiple CEOs, rounds of layoffs, and a net loss year-over-year. 

Creator Turmoil

In January 2024, investigative YouTuber Stephen “Coffeezilla” Findeisen tweeted that he was looking into Omnia Media not paying creators. He specifically mentioned that YouTuber Chad “Anything4Views” Roberts claimed Omnia did not pay him.

Roberts, an Australian YouTuber, has over 348,000 subscribers. He told Passionfruit that Omnia owed him $80,000 for November and $100,000 for December 2023. He says he only received payment in April 2024 after hiring a lawyer and “taking the first steps to get an actual case going.” 

“The unfortunate truth is unless you have money for a lawyer who’s good enough to scare them, you probably won’t get your payment before they declare bankruptcy and take everyone’s money,” Roberts said. 

Roberts and his video podcast “Cold Ones” are still prominently on Omnia Media’s website and talent page. But Roberts said that he left the organization in January as soon as the first payment was late.  

YouTuber Alex “ImAllexx” Elmslie tweeted similar payment issues on April 23. He claims that Omnia Media has delayed all his payments “months later” than “originally agreed upon.” This forced him to pay his employees through his “own savings.”

In response, fellow YouTuber Chris Ray Gun, who also is under the network, shared that he had similar concerns.

This led Coffeezilla to publish his investigation video, saying a handful of creators told him Omnia hadn’t paid them on time.

The investigation also shared screenshots of Discord messages threatening legal action, which Omnia allegedly sent to those who spoke out about missing payments. (Omnia Media, Enthusiast Gaming, Elmslie, Chris, and Findeisen did not respond to a request for comment). 

“For context, we are currently realigning payment expectations for creators that move away from historical early payment practices and shift back in line with our contractual terms,” Omnia Media told Findeisen over a Twitter message. 

What Really Matters

These payments suddenly shifting overnight to a later date are having serious effects on creators. YouTuber Thafnine, a horror video game YouTuber with 370,000 subscribers, had responded to Findeisen’s tweet saying Omnia also owed him money. He posted a video saying it has “been extremely difficult to motivate” himself recently because of the lack of funds. 

Another creator, 700,000-subscriber “Grand Theft Auto” YouTuber Zac Cox, told Passionfruit that his October 2023 payment didn’t come until January, causing him to leave the company. He says Omnia still owes him $200, and gave him “a runaround regarding contract terms and how they would eventually pay it.”

Cox joined Omnia Media in March 2015. He gave away a 10 percent cut in exchange for what he described as a “protection cost.” Omnia was helpful — when a video was falsely flagged in 2018, Cox says his representatives at Omnia helped him get it back.

But over the years, he noticed that the employees he had spoken with were leaving the company. Communication seemed to halt. Their only interaction soon became the direct deposit that would appear in his bank account every month. 

The Problem With MCNs Like Omnia Media

Multi-channel networks were once one of the most important parts of the YouTube ecosystem. These organizations were initially designed as advertising intermediaries back when creators couldn’t just get paid directly by the YouTube Partner Program, which launched in 2007

Throughout the early years of YouTube, these organizations helped the burgeoning creator class. MCNs secured better advertising deals, marketing, technical support, and access to tools like custom thumbnails or analytics software. They also helped liaison with YouTube prior to there being robust YouTube support teams for creators. If you were a serious YouTuber in the 2010s, chances are high that you signed a contract with an MCN.

But as the years went on, these networks struggled to adapt to a changing digital landscape. Their value was no longer worth the hassle or cut they took.

Many of the MCNs that used to be on top have disappeared over the past decade. Disney purchased Maker Studios in 2014 for $500 million. Three years later, it removed over 59,000 creators from its network. Defy Media closed in 2018 after raising $70 million in Series B round funding just one year prior.

Some MCNs like Omnia Media managed to hold on, getting acquired by other companies while keeping their creators locked in to generate revenue. But now, MCNs exist as a shadow of their former selves, taking money from YouTube and handing it back to creators. Adding an intermediary can create problems, leading to money that’s owed not ending up in the right hands.

These creators have bills and responsibilities and expect their money on a certain date. Suddenly changing a payment schedule after years of a relationship while the company is having financial troubles isn’t a good sign. 

“The real dangers of an MCN are they can take your money and run. Much like with what is happening now,” Cox said.

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