Sean Combs and Comcast Trigger a Music Revolution

Posted: October 21, 2013

THE MUSIC MOGUL and artist formerly known as P. Diddy has reason to be puffed with pride. On Monday, Sean Combs is launching a seriously eclectic and (he hopes) revolutionary new music video channel called Revolt. And he has Comcast (to a degree) and the Federal Communications Commission to thank.

"We'll play that new s--- that people are afraid to play," Combs vows, in a video posted at the RevoltTV channel on YouTube. His vision is a "multi-genre, multi-platform music network" that will celebrate "the best of rock, the best of EDM" (electronic dance music), "the best of hip hop, the future. We may even play some country music if it's funky enough, baby."

Revolt's target viewing audience - the 18- to- 34-year-old "millennials" - are already on the same wavelength, Combs believes, pointing to big attendance for mashed-up music festivals like Philly's Jay-Z curated, Budweiser-backed "Made In America."

Launching a cable channel from scratch costs almost $100 million, calculates media analyst Derek Baine, and should not be undertaken without major agreements in place with cable and satellite TV service providers.

Luckily for Combs, Comcast needed Revolt as much as he needed it. To win approval from the federal government for its takeover of NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast agreed to help launch 10 independent, mostly minority-owned channels starting with four it has vowed to distribute widely by January.

Oddly, only Comcast systems in Florida will have a channel slot ready for Revolt on Monday, when it launches with 18 hours a day (weekdays) of "live" programming segments. By contrast, Time Warner Cable will be on the case from day one with carriage in "New York, LA and a few other major cities," said Revolt director of communications Kai Wright.

Comcast will "roll out" Revolt nationally over several months, said company spokesman John Demming, who did have a date for the Philly rollout. And the music video channel will be ramping up content in a similar time frame, adding "signature" programs and going "live" around-the-clock come January.

"But we're not considering Monday's debut a soft launch or beta test," stressed Wright. "We're ready to go."


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