‘We’re all stuck in this cycle of scarcity’: Revolt CEO on why Black-owned media needs more investment

Digiday 03 May 2021 04:01
May 3, 2021 by Jessica Davies and Sara Jerde

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Black-owned media is not in a position where it can compete fairly with white-owned media corporations due to a scarcity of revenue caused by lack of advertiser investment and distributor reluctance, according to Detavio Samuels, CEO of Revolt.

Speaking at Digiday’s Future of Work: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion forum last week, Samuels said he was heartened by a more recent uptick in support from brands, citing AT&T and Comcast as businesses that have shown solid commercial support, but that the fundamental economics of running a Black-owned media company remains an uphill struggle.

“Black-owned media is on the brink of extinction,” he said. “Many of us have been fighting this idea that Black-owned media only makes up 1% of the marketplace. And to make up 1% means you’re basically extinct. If we saw whales and tigers on the bring of extinction we’d be screaming, right? So we’re screaming, and looking out to the marketplace and advertisers and brands and saying, guys you got to be screaming too.”

Should the way businesses have traditionally measured productivity change too, to cater for this?
We do need a different way of managing productivity. And we need to start treating it as outcomes: what are you delivering toward our business strategy, versus just the output that you deliver on any given day. If we’re going to really commit to hybrid work, and different ways of working, we have to change our performance management processes, we need to change our compensation processes. We need to change some of our policies to accommodate the fact that we’re going to measure people differently. That’s that’s the other big shift that needs to occur.

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