'Diddy' Discusses Debut of Music Network Revolt

Entrepreneur/hip hop mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs launches his most ambitious venture to date today (Oct. 21) in music-based cable network Revolt TV. The network is looking to occupy what Combs describes as “white space” for a 24-hour music channel left when MTV and BET all but abandoned the category in the late 2000s for original reality and scripted content.

Combs and Revolt TV CEO Keith Clinkscales spoke to Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead ahead of the network’s launch about Revolt TV’s approach to music programming and its multiplatform strategy. An edited transcript follows.

MCN: You’re already a successful businessman, entrepreneur and music mogul. Why a cable channel?
Sean “Diddy” Combs: This has been a seven-year journey for me. I realize that as powerful as music was in the world of cable, there was no really credible No. 1 name in music. After MTV changed its business model, it kind of left a white space there.
Also, music is the most powerful form of communication globally — it’s one of the only things that we can agree upon. We don’t even agree upon religion or politics or other things like that, but we agree on a hit record. If there’s a hit record, we’re singing it worldwide. And that’s a very, very powerful art form.
So I looked at that opportunity, and I saw that cable television was losing its future. Kids were unplugging, they were kicking the [satellite] dish off the roof and they were going to the Internet. Somebody put out a conspiracy theory that kids no longer like TV; like they have a problem with TV. No — they have a problem with the fact that none of the content on TV is being made for them. And music is the No. 1 form of entertainment for millennials. The industry likes to call them millennials, I like to call ‘em young people. It’s more personal to me. So I saw this as an opportunity to help out with the future of cable as it evolves and grows.

MCN: You mention there’s a void there in the music space, but that’s mainly because most music-based networks realized that consumers are getting most of their music from other platforms, like the Internet. Can you develop a business model that allows you to be successful on the cable and digital side through music?

SC: As far as our business plan, yes.
Keith Clinkscales: I want to make sure you hear me on this: We’re not just launching a cable network, we’re launching across all platforms. It is important to make sure the we have the power of cable, but it’s also equally as important for the audience that we’re talking about, that you reach them with content on their phones, through Twitter, through Instagram and all the different other outlets. And even though we’re doing a good job of [cable] distribution, we’re not going to be in the entire country. So our digital platform, our ability to present this brand and our content digitally, has to be something that we’re paying not just attention to, but making a foundation principle of what Revolt is.

Click here to read the full interview.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.