Sean “Puffy” Combs already has turned his Bad Boy Entertainment into a music, TV, film and restaurant empire. Now the hip-hop star and entrepreneur wants to “be a leader for urban youth culture in cyberspace.”
Although Combs did not detail his future plans on the ‘Net, he told a crowd of major Internet players attending Digital Hollywood, a four-day Internet confab ending today at the BevHilton, that “there’s a major marketplace of people that you have not connected with.”
While analysts have reported that 60 million people are actively browsing the Web, Combs said he represents the 190 million people that aren’t, especially African-Americans. Only 11% of computer owners are African-American, according to stats provided by Combs.
“The numbers are staggering of how race and culture are not represented in cyberspace,” Combs said.
Combs also warned that while players like Microsoft and RealNetworks have proved successful in introducing new software and access methods, programmers have to be careful and keep an eye on what the youth market wants from the Web.
“This is a fickle market,” he said. “They’re interested in quality entertainment, and they change their tastes on a daily basis.”
As a rap and hip-hop producer, Combs’s Bad Boy Records generated $130 million last year. The singer’s “Forever” disc is in stores now. He is also readying to open his third upscale Caribbean restaurant, Justin’s, and recently launched a clothing line under the Sean John moniker.
Combs, chairman-CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment and co-CEO of Notorious Entertainment, earned $53 million in 1998.