By Rachel Curry (Public)
- Black-owned media received less than 2% of total ad spend in 2020 despite accounting for 13% of the U.S. population, according to Nielsen
- African Americans only own 5% of the production budget in Hollywood
Building and monetizing culture for the masses is very lucrative and one of the best ways to truly capitalize on this is through Black media ownership. Detavio Samuels, CEO of REVOLT Media (founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs) knows this first-hand and unpacked the broad impact Black-owned media has on investing platform Public.com. Ethnic media shouldn’t be seen as niche or an accompaniment to mainstream media. It’s a necessary mainstay for cultural connectivity, especially when you factor in that African Americans spend more than $600 billion every year.
Why This Matters: As the voice of culture across all platforms, REVOLT has a big goal: to be the next Black-owned unicorn (aka startup with a $1+ billion valuation). “Whoever has the pen in their hand, they get to tell whatever story and whatever narrative that they want,” REVOLT is working to change not just the narrative, but the voice who tells it.
Even though African Americans only own 5% of the production budget in Hollywood, there’s more than enough room for Revolt to become a dominant player. Also, Black-owned media received less than 2% of total ad spend in 2020 despite accounting for 13% of the U.S. population, according to Nielsen.
In the last decade, eight Black-owned businesses have reached unicorn status. To put that in perspective, 264 companies became unicorns in 2021 alone. This is due in part to limited access to capital. Samuels said, “Black-owned media only extracts 1% of the marketing dollars that are put into the market.”
In the same vein, Black-owned businesses only receive 1% of venture funding (just 0.34% of venture capital goes to African American women). To remain a Black-owned business, Black owners must retain 51% equity, which automatically limits who they can take funding from.
Samuels highlighted how Black culture inspires all culture, and how business leaders monetize Black culture without reinvesting in it. As REVOLT saw, major events like the murder of George Floyd create a tailwind of money flowing into Black media, but it’s not enough.
What’s Next: REVOLT has partnered with Target to create a TV show called “Bet on Black.” Unlike Shark Tank, this venture funding show provides Black entrepreneurs with coaching, nurturing, and capital. Everyone on the show gets capital “without any exchange of equity,” Samuels said. REVOLT’s other ventures, such as Black News Weekly, is working to change the voice and narrative of Black business. By leading with Black insights, because culture stems from the margins, it may just prove to be a winning formula for building a culturally relevant ‘For Us By Us’ media unicorn.
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Rachel Curry is a Pennsylvania-based content writer and journalist talking all things finance. She likes to give meaning to numbers by humanizing them. You can connect with her on Twitter at @writingsofrach.