November 7, 2005
Simmons media group backs new hip-hop channel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons' media
group this month will launch a video-on-demand channel for rap
music, aiming to capture a coveted urban male demographic with
programing that partly relies on advertisers.
The channel, dubbed DoD, was created by media entrepreneur
Will Griffin together with the Simmons Lathan Media Group.
Beginning on Friday, the channel will be available free to
subscribers of cable operator Comcast Corp. in 22 markets, with
sponsorship from advertisers that include athletic apparel
maker Reebok, Coca-Cola Co. and General Motors Corp..
"We're trying to do something grassroots and organic for
the fans," DoD Chief Executive Griffin told Reuters. "Our
obligation is to find more morsels, more content and put more
out there than you would see anywhere else."
The channel will offer music videos, documentaries on
hip-hop stars, features on locally popular bands, and comedy
Griffin said some of the new programing includes interview
footage that Reebok shot with top stars like 50 Cent and Jay-Z
for its RBK apparel campaign, letting the advertiser take
advantage of content that normally wouldn't make it past the
commercial cutting room.
"Those commercials were shot documentary-style," Griffin
said. "With a typical media buy, they could only show 30
seconds of that, but for a fan of 50 Cent, almost anything they
shot will be interesting."
Other advertising and branding opportunities include a
short-form documentary produced by General Motors that focuses
on Slum Village, a group popular in the Detroit area.
Griffin said DoD is in talks with other cable operators and
media companies to offer the service to other audiences and
through additional media devices.
Clear Channel Entertainment Properties, part of Clear
Channel Communications, signed on the advertisers to the new