Gaia, Inc.
Company typePublic
NasdaqGAIA (Class A)
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryVideo production
Founded1988; 36 years ago (1988)
Boulder, Colorado, U.S.
FounderJirka Rysavy
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$66.827 million (fiscal year ending 31 December 2020)[1]
Increase US$0.699 million (fiscal year ending 31 December 2020)[1]
Increase US$0.519 million (fiscal year ending 31 December 2020)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$110.017 million (fiscal year ending 31 December 2020)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$74.235 million (fiscal year ending 31 December 2020)[1]
Websitewww.gaia.com
Footnotes / references
[2]

Gaia, Inc. is an American alternative media video on demand streaming service founded by Jirka Rysavy in 1988. The company produces and releases content focusing on a variety of topics, with an overall focus on mindfulness, alternative medicine, and several forms of divination.[3] Gaia has been criticized as a "conspiracy theory hub,"[4] with content featuring British conspiracy theorist David Icke. Additional content includes videos promoting the chemtrail conspiracy theory,[citation needed] UFO conspiracy theories, astral projection, and the Lost City of Atlantis.

History

Origins

Gaia was founded in 1988 by Czechoslovakian-born entrepreneur Jirka Rysavy.[5] Originally branding itself as a yoga equipment brand, Gaia sold mail-order exercise videos and alternative medicine products.[6]

Gaia began several acquisition and merging endeavors in the early 2000s. In 2001, Gaia merged with the Californian company Real Goods Solar, a residential and commercial solar power integrator with a focus on off-the-grid living.[7] Gaia continued expansion and in 2003 bought a 50.1% share in its UK distributor Leisure Systems International (LSI).[8] In 2005, Gaia acquired the media assets of GoodTimes Entertainment and Jetlag Productions.[9] The company additionally acquired both Lime TV[10] and Zaadz.com[11] in 2007 to start what was called the LOHAS network (LOHAS stands for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability).[11]

2010s–present

In 2011, Gaia launched Gaia TV, a streaming service for videos on yoga, meditation, and fringe science.[12] The company acquired Vivendi Entertainment, a DVD distributor from Vivendi subsidiary Universal Music Group Distribution, merging it with its home entertainment division to form Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.[13][14]

In 2016, Sequential Brands Group purchased the Gaiam brand and yoga equipment unit for $167 million. Gaia subsequently rebranded themselves, focusing solely on its alternative media streaming service. Over the next three years, the service would increase in popularity. In 2019, USA Today ranked Gaia, Inc as the world's fastest-growing retailer,[15] spending up to 120% of its revenue on advertising.[16]

Gaia added live streaming events from a new event center at its Louisville, Colorado campus in 2019.[17][18][19] Events are live streamed in 185 countries with simultaneous translation.[20]

In February 2021, Business Insider published an investigative piece detailing workplace harassment and concerns about the surveillance of Gaia employees by the company.[21] These concerns stemmed from Gaia offering blood tests offered to employees, as well as unsupported reports that CEO Rysavy had installed 'a machine' on the roof of Gaia headquarters to 'psychically monitor employees.'[21] Gaia and Rysavy have also been accused of manipulating the building's energy using crystals.

In November 2021, American singer and actor Demi Lovato became the first celebrity ambassador for Gaia. Lovato announced via their Instagram that they were partnering with Gaia, stating, "Thrilled to be a Gaia ambassador, understanding the world around us (the known and the unknown) is so exciting to me!"[22][23][24][25] Lovato came under scrutiny for the partnership from fans due to Gaia's controversial content.[26]

Streaming services and programming

Gaia provides services to subscribers in 185 countries, streaming more than 8,000 films.[27] Gaia surpassed 500,000 paid subscribers on September 13, 2018.[28]

Programming

Programming topics on Gaia range from mainstream alternative medicine, such as mindfulness meditation and basic yoga, to conspiracy theories and fringe theories, including vaccine misinformation, UFO conspiracy theories, astral projection, and the Illuminati. Other topics incorporated into Gaia's programming include:

Conspiracy theories

Due to the advocacy for debunked conspiracy theories present on Gaia's website, the service has been deplatformed on multiple social media sites, including YouTube and Facebook.[35] Conspiracy theories frequently shared on their streaming service include the assassination of John F. Kennedy,[36][37] Operation Paperclip,[38][39] Project MKUltra,[40][41] and Big Pharma conspiracy theories,[42][43] including vaccine misinformation.[35]

Additional conspiracy theories center around outer space, UFOs, extraterrestrial life, and the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.[44]

A show hosted by American radio host George Noory covers several pseudoscientific topics such as psychic vampires, Hollow Earth theory, and mummified aliens.[45][46][47][48] This content has been criticized as misleading or falsified.[45][49]

Lawsuit and accusations of Luciferianism

In 2018, conspiracy theorist David Wilcock left Gaia. After his departure, his resignation letter was brought to public attention, supposedly claiming Gaia was spreading "Lucifer propaganda." These accusations generated a substantial amount of hate mail and death threats toward employees at Gaia. Wilcock eventually apologized to Gaia, and stated in his apology letter that his words were taken out of context and were meant to remain internal.[21][50]

That same year, Patty Greer, a filmmaker formerly contracted by Gaia, accused the company of "promoting Luciferianism and using directed-energy weapons against critics."[51][52][53][54] Greer claims she was attacked with a "directed energy weapon" in the Phoenix, Arizona airport in 2017.[27] In addition, Greer alleged her films were intentionally removed from the Gaia website. She stated that her refusal to sign a non-disclosure agreement involved in regaining distribution rights to her films ultimately led to her content being intentionally removed from the site.[27]

Following numerous[clarification needed] videos and posts from Greer claiming Gaia was infiltrated by satanists and reptilians,[53] Gaia sued Greer for slander. Gaia claimed that Greer was retaliating after a decline in viewership of her videos hosted on Gaia's streaming services.[27]

In response to the lawsuit, Greer defended herself by saying she "simply reports" on what she read and heard from sources and that she was given information from Gaia employees under the username #GEM (which stands for 'Gaia Employee Movement').[50] Many of the reports Greer received included the same claims from David Wilcock's resignation letter, which alleged satanists had infiltrated Gaia.[53]

On December 14, 2018, the case was dismissed without prejudice, noting that Greer had not been served. On December 27, Gaia filed another lawsuit against Greer, seeking one million in damages.[55] The lawsuit was settled in 2019, and Greer posted an apology to her website as part of a settlement agreement and removed all of the content surrounding Gaia and #GEM.[50]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Gaia, Inc. 2020 Annual Report" (PDF). Gaia. 31 December 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Management Team". Gaia. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  3. ^ Murphy, Duane Paul (2018-09-25). "The Gaia Deception: Digital New Age Nonsense". TheHumanist.com. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  4. ^ "Demi Lovato's Fans Voice Outrage After Singer Joins Controversial Conspiracy Site Gaia". ELLE. 2021-11-17. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  5. ^ 'Gaiam Third Child of Entrepreneur Rysavy,' Boulder County Business Report, November 1, 1998, p. 1.
  6. ^ Price, Rob. "Gaiam, one of the world's most popular yoga mats, has its roots in a conspiracy site that touts alien secrets and 9/11 theories". Business Insider. Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  7. ^ 'Gaiam, Real Goods to Merge,' Denver Post, October 17, 2000, p. C2.
  8. ^ Gaiam, Inc. (2003). 10-K Annual Report 2003. Retrieved December 20, 2012 from Gaiam Corporate Website Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Gaiam closes GoodTimes Entertainment Deal at $35M" Archived 2013-12-14 at the Wayback Machine. Denver Business Journal. 9-14-2005. Retrieved 12-20-2012.
  10. ^ "Gaiam, Zaadz, LIME Media & Conscious Enlightenment Create Unified Source for LOHAS". Bloomberg. 6-6-2007.
  11. ^ a b Zaadz: Green Living Social Network Acquired" Archived 2013-01-26 at the Wayback Machine. Mashable. 6-6-2007. Retrieved 12-20-2012
  12. ^ Gaiam, Inc (2011). 10-K Annual Report 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from Gaiam Corporate Website. Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Gaiam Completes Acquisition of Vivendi Entertainment Creating Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, the Nation's Largest Independent Content Distributor - MarketWatch Archived 2012-05-05 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Gaiam Acquires Vivendi Entertainment: Deal creates major indie distrib of nontheatrical content" Archived 2012-06-29 at the Wayback Machine. Variety Magazine. 4-3-2012. Retrieved 12-20-2012
  15. ^ "Among the world's 20 fastest growing retailers, Amazon just ranks at No. 4". USA Today. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  16. ^ "Gaia Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Results". GlobeNewswire News Room (Press release). 2020-02-24. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  17. ^ "Gaia to launch live streaming from Louisville campus". Boulder Daily Camera. 2019-04-27. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
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  20. ^ "Louisville's Gaia grows revenue, aims for 1M subscribers by 2019". Longmont Times-Call. 2018-05-08. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
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  22. ^ McNab, Kaitlyn (November 18, 2021). "Demi Lovato Joined Gaia — Here's Why It Matters". Teen Vogue. Condé Nast. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  23. ^ Strunck, Clara (November 17, 2021). "Demi Lovato Joins Conspiracy Site Gaia - Here's What You Need To Know". Elle. UK. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  24. ^ Paper Magazine (November 9, 2021). "Demi Lovato Is Out Here Promoting a Site for Conspiracy Theorists". Paper. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  25. ^ Rude, Mey (November 9, 2021). "What You Need to Know About Demi Lovato Joining Conspiracy Site Gaia". Out. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "Demi Lovato Joined Gaia — Here's Why It Matters". Teen Vogue. 2021-11-18. Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  27. ^ a b c d Pampuro, Amanda (2018-08-21). "Gaia Hits Filmmaker Patty Greer With an Old-School Weapon: a Lawsuit". Westword. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
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  46. ^ "'Alien' mummies likely to be distorted, stolen Nazca bodies". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
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  50. ^ a b c Pampuro, Amanda. "Gaia Settles Million-Dollar Lawsuit Against Filmmaker Patty Greer". Westword. Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  51. ^ Pampuro, Amanda (2018-08-21). "Gaia Hits Filmmaker Patty Greer With an Old-School Weapon: a Lawsuit". Westword. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  52. ^ "UFO filmmaker who called former client 'Luciferian' sued for defamation". BusinessDen. 2018-08-09. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  53. ^ a b c Pampuro, Amanda (2018-12-31). "Slander Suit Against Filmmaker Patty Greer Dismissed, Then Refiled". Westword. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  54. ^ "CropCircleFilms.com Offers Patty Greer's Award Winning Crop Circle UFO Films". Crop Circle Films. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  55. ^ Pampuro, Amanda. "Slander Suit Against Filmmaker Patty Greer Dismissed, Then Refiled". Westword. Retrieved 2023-07-26.