NEW YORK — Sean Combs' new Revolt channel launched with a nod to big dreams and its founder's musical past, bringing a new outlet for music to television.
Despite some technical glitches in its opening Monday, Combs aspires to nothing less than making Revolt the ESPN of music, with well-curated playlists and a strong focus on industry news.
"I want to know, who is Taylor Swift?" Combs said. "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."
Most fans watch videos online or on demand these days, despite the existence of MTV's networks, Fuse and BET. The struggling music industry doesn't spend as much producing flashy videos as it did in MTV's heyday. Networks that have started out primarily with videos moved on, primarily because the format is unattractive to advertisers.
"We're just going to do it better," said Val Boreland, Revolt's chief programming executive. Combs said he wants a network where people program from the gut instead of sales charts, citing legendary DJ Frankie Crocker and "Soul Train." His executive team is heavy on industry experience, with former ESPN executive and Vibe magazine president Keith Clinkscales, former Warner Bros. and MTV executive Andy Schuon and Boreland, who worked at Comedy Central.