By Liz Elfman
Do you ever wonder "What is Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs up to these days?" Your searching is over; Combs is busy with the launch of Revolt TV. Revolt is a television channel devoted to music news and content. Developed specifically to feed the "that's-so-11-minutes-ago" space of social media, Revolt delivers music, exclusive interviews, concerts and other content within the field of music news. It aims to appeal primarily to the perpetual-motion millennial masses that are used to consuming their music and news on the go. Time Warner Cable and Combs' production partner, Comcast, are the primary cable systems carrying Revolt, which launched last month and went live on cable television last week.
Ambitious, you say? Undoubtedly. Simultaneously tackling content, music, video and social seems almost Herculean in its complexity. To ease the pain, Revolt has partnered with the digital experts at Huge to deliver this experience. The team aims to create an integrated television and digital platform experience with content from the broadcast channel and user-submitted content to the website, both feeding Revolt TV. It's designed to be consumed as an infinite feed, whereby users can engage interactively or simply let play in the background like a traditional radio or television. It works across multiple devices, from mobile to computer to television. If you have trouble wrapping your mind around that concept, there's a good reason: nothing quite like it exists.
"Media consumption and advertising are changing and everyone is panicking to figure out how adapt," representatives from Huge told us. "We keep hearing how millennials are radically different and everyone is trying to figure how to market in a new media landscape. We've figured out that this is a generation that knows how to consume things in a feed context, not one giant grid." The team has targeted seven aspects of the project that are uniquely "millennial" in nature, and they're attempting to balance breaking news with in-depth access and coverage.
Members of the Revolt team told us, "We're taking some non-traditional approaches to advertising. 'Native' is the buzzword of the advertising industry these days and this context-driven ad content will be the bread and butter of this website. Ads will feel more like organic-featured or promoted content; our motto here is 'no one has ever clicked an ad banner on purpose.'" It's a good sign that they understand how annoying internet ads can be.
At the risk of sounding like a stoned college freshman, we're all grappling what questions like "What is TV anyway?", thanks to the rapidly changing media landscape. Harnessing market share amidst all the chaos is a lofty goal but with a potentially huge payout. In that sense there's something savvy about what the Revolt team is doing. They already have tens of thousands of followers on Twitter and they're aiming early and fast to reach a target demographic of young, technologically savvy people.
Revolt's website is generously populated with music-related content; staff writers report on music-industry news in real time. In the future they look to enlist "citizen-journalism," whereby Revolt ambassadors around the globe would contribute relevant content into the system.
I had to ask: What's it like to work with the man who hosted what many deemed "the best party the world has ever seen?" Apparently it's pretty cool. According to a Huge staffer, "Combs has a great creative mind; he gets a vision in his head and that's it." An example: "He came to our studio in Brooklyn to choose a set design. Most clients would take hours to sort through eight or nine different designs. But he knew what he wanted within fifteen minutes of walking through the door."
My time covering startups has taught me that companies who have a laser-sharp focus from day one tend to succeed. While Revolt TV may sound like a lot to take on all at once, it's come out of the gate with speed, direction and momentum. The team noted, "We're trying to position ourselves differently. In large part, we're competing with music fans, not other companies; we're hoping users will share content with each other that is curated and credible. We want to make it clear that you can take part in the Revolt and make it your home for music."
If anyone can pull off a complex concept like this, it's Sean Combs. Cue the revolution.