Viewble Media cops another blow
The company which took over embattled Australian-based advertising company Viewble Media's UK arm has gone bust, adding to the trail of destruction caused by the controversial firm.
Rhino Media Group (RMG) was incorporated in December 2018 with the purpose of taking over Viewble Media's UK customer base after it collapsed in Australia owing more than $60 million to unsecured creditors.
RMG's managing director Roger Van Deelen told News Corp his company's aim was to ensure Viewble's UK customers didn't meet the same fate as the more than 4500 Australian small business owners who now face the prospect of paying out hefty television lease contracts.
Less than a year later however, RMG has laid off all of its staff as pressure from frustrated customers mounts.
RMG and Viewble both offered "cost neutral" contracts to small business owners whereby they would pay an amount per month to lease a television to display in-store advertising.
Customers entered into the contracts on the proviso they would receive an equivalent amount back each month in advertising revenue for displaying ads for other businesses.
But the clients - some claim unknowingly - also entered into a contract with a finance company, who would pay the respective companies a lump sum for each contract signed.
Now, thousands of small business owners across Australia and the UK face the prospect of having to pay out the remainder of the contracts - which for some, will crush their businesses.
RMG was unable to keep up rebate payments by October.
In a letter to customers Mr Van Deelen - who previously worked for Viewble UK as a distributor - chalked up the lack of revenue to sustain the payments to "recent events, news article(s) and negative reviews".
He further stated the company was not in liquidation and was "seeking funding to allow the business to restructure and continue to trade".
Liquidators were appointed to Viewble's Australian arm in January this year, two months after its associated company Jasdav - which was trading as The Shoppers Network - went under.
A voluntary liquidator was appointed to the UK operation in September this year.
Former Viewble Media director David Reid previously told News Corp his company paid RMG "hundreds of thousands of pounds" to take over its clients.
"We actually wanted to continue in the UK, because the UK was fine," Mr Reid said.
"But the directors made a decision just because of the negativity through what happened in Australia that it wasn't viable for us to keep our team happy and motivated."
Mr Van Deelen said Viewble's reputation had haunted his business from day one and at one point RMG was receiving "more than 300 calls a day from unhappy customers" related to inherited network issues.
"RMG immediately took on a lot of negative background from social media after the collapse of Viewble (and) TSN (The Shoppers Network) in Australia," he said.
"We received calls, negative reviews and messages from Australian customers - all of who believed that Viewble Media had simply rebranded as Rhino Media Group. This is most definitely not the case."
Despite letting go of all of its staff, Mr Van Deelen said RMG was working on refinancing and restructuring and claims "funding has a very small chance of not happening".
He said once funding is secured, the company will "easily generate enough revenue to pay for all customers media payments".