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Sean Combs’ Revolt TV Aims to Broaden Reach in Music Biz

To mark its one-year anniversary in October, Sean Combs’ Revolt TV cabler will host a music biz conference in Miami in an effort to expand its presence throughout the entertainment industry.

Andre Harrell (pictured), the urban music vet who played a big role in launching Combs’ career, will steer the conference in his new role as vice chairman of Revolt.

Harrell, the founder of Uptown Records who has also been active in film and TV production, will focus on business development for Revolt, as well as industry outreach and the creation of strategic partnerships.

“He has significant amount of experience in music and has been very helpful to us with our programming,” Revolt CEO Keith Clinkscales told Variety. Clinkscales cited Harrell’s previous work with Revolt, developing and executive producing specials, including a recent focus on artist Mary J. Blige.

“I’m thrilled to help Revolt increase its influence as the only revolutionary music network tapped into what fans and artists truly want,” Harrell said in a statement.

Since its launch in October, Revolt TV has worked to expand the reach of its brand, and hopes that Harrell’s expertise and the upcoming conference in Miami will bolster their efforts.

“We wanted to have a way to have outreach to the music industry,” Clinkscales said of the conference’s impetus. With the changing state of music technology and marketing, Revolt sought “a way to capture that discussion,” starting with the Miami confab.

Revolt was among several channels born out of the commitment that Comcast Corp. made to give carriage deals to 10 independent startup outlets as a condition of its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal.

The channel began with a digital presence on Instagram and Twitter before developing a web presence, mobile application and the eventual channel. Revolt continues to program content designed for digital consumption. “Sean likes to say, that ‘we’re planning for a world of a billion devices.’”

Despite the challenges of launching an independent niche linear network, Revolt sees itself as a multiplatform brand that is well positioned to reach its target audience. Music programming continues to be its core focus. The channel has declared July “Independent Music Month,” highlighting artists on indie labels and docs such as “Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton,” about the influential L.A.-based Stones Throw Records label.

“It’s a great time to be in the kind of business that we’re in,” Clinkscales said.

Since its debut on Comcast, the channel has added carriage on Time Warner Cable and Century Link, but other MVPDs have been harder to crack. Clinkscales would not comment on specific negotiations, but emphasized that he is confident the channel is on the right track.

“The conversations are getting better and better,” Clinkscales said. “We have to make it easy for these carriers to pick us up and put us on. We have to continue to work hard to reach our audience.”

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