“Revolt will air videos almost exclusively” is not the type of statement you expect to read about a new music television station in 2013. But that’s exactly what the Associated Press reports about Revolt TV, the new station and online channel created by Sean Combs.
Revolt TV launched on October 21 as a new station on Time Warner Cable and Comcast Xfinity cable services, though it was also live-streamed at Revolt.tv for three days after its launch. Combs sees the network, which also will include music news, as being to music what ESPN is to sports authority coupons.
“I want to know, who is Taylor Swift?” Combs told the AP. “Why is Miley Cyrus twerking? Why did Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake go on tour? Why did Kanye West call his daughter ‘North’? The industry of music is just as important, or more important, as the industry of sports. Sports are covered in a serious manner and we want to follow in those footsteps.”
MTV, VH1, BET and the other well-known music networks reduced the number of videos they aired long ago, and it seems difficult today to find any music videos at all on those networks. But with the popularity of music videos on YouTube and other online outlets, it’s clear that there is still demand for the format. What isn’t clear is if the public will support a television station filled with videos, which seems nearly as novel today as MTV did when it launched just over 32 years ago.
Also relatively novel is the fact that the channel will strive to support many genres of music, where many of the aforementioned network stayed within a relatively narrow focus genre focus. Though the channel will begin with just music videos and occasional news, a studio in Los Angeles is scheduled to open in 2014 to host artist interviews as well as concerts.
Advertising Demands May Trump Public Demand
However, the public’s demand for something like this channel affects more than just ratings, it also affects how much advertisers are willing to pay. Billboard points out that one of the reasons MTV switched from all video programming to a focus on shows was because ratings were not high enough for advertisers to support the network.
To address this, Combs is gearing Revolt TV specifically at Millennials – those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s – and hoping that the channel will fill a void in music programming for that group. But the inspiration for the channel comes even before MTV, before Millennials were even born.
Speaking to Ad Age about the advertising problem the network may face, he cites “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train” as models, and saying that Revolt is what is needed in the music industry right now.
“The programming will be music, music, music. In 20 years we haven’t had the right kind of curated music done in the right way…” Combs said. “When you turn to this network I want you to know you will see music content and high journalistic standards.”