*Diddy admitted that the launch of his new millennial-targeted music network Revolt has been “the hardest and most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
“I literally almost drove (myself) crazy two weeks ago,” he said during an informal presentation at the TCA Summer press tour this morning in Beverly Hills. The goal of the network is to pry millennials away from the Internet and back to television using live, “unpredictable” music news, performances and videos.
Although he is heavily involved in the project, you won’t see a lot of him in front of the camera: “My job is to stay the visionary for this; I’m more like a Steve Jobs,” Diddy said. Nor will the channel limit itself to urban music.
“It isn’t just hip hop, it isn’t just an urban-based channel, it isn’t just rock and roll,” Combs said, adding that he’d even give Taylor Swift airtime if she did something edgy. “We’re looking for greatness, we’re looking for great stars, we’re looking for people who have something to say. Our bar is extremely high; it’s highly curated. There are other places artists will be able to get exposure, but when you make it to Revolt you will feel you’ve been authorized.”
Revolt is set to launch in late October in at least 25 million homes. Previously aired documentaries and concerts will be included in the programming, but the channel will air music and cultural news live each half hour from a Los Angeles studio that Diddy compared to CNN’s “Situation Room.”
The channel will saturate itself in social media, and there’s already a companion web site, Revolt.tv. Among its first offerings will be the web series, “Making the Brand,” a play off of his MTV series “Making the Band” that will follow Diddy in his day-to-day business of building the network.
“You’ll see me having meltdowns, and you see me being out of my element and being in this element where I’m not just a free-spirited entrepreneur, and I have to be accountable to the business and build a high-level corporate team, which is different for me,” he said.
The road so far has been so stressful that Diddy has sought advice from Oprah Winfrey, who famously stumbled out of the gate with her network OWN.
“I’m not going to be out there being flashy about it. I’m not going to be over-promoting it. I’m not over-promising anything,” he said, referencing Winfrey’s misstep. “I’m just really going to be building credibility; my credibility will be my currency.”
Below, Diddy explains why he decided to get into television at a time when TV seems to be losing ground to the Web.
Revolt, backed by Combs and private-equity funding, is one of several minority-owned channels that cable giant Comcast promised to distribute, along with others from Robert Rodriguez and Magic Johnson. Former MTV executive Andy Schuon is a top executive. The channel will initially be available in homes served by Comcast and Time Warner Cable, reaching portions of most major cities. Combs refused to discuss how much he’s investing in the channel, but says “it’s a lot of money.”