In this episode, Rights Live host Mark Bliss and Jeannine Nembhard are joined by Damian Pelliccione, the CEO & Co-Founder of LGBTQ channel, Revry. We’ll learn about how Revry’s grown, the importance of having a seat at the table, how they’ve used social media in unexpected ways, and even hear some of the inspiring stories they have to tell about how representation on a media channel can actually save lives across the globe.

Video Transcript (Clip 1):

“Oscar Raymundo, who worked for Mac World and did the very first biggest featured article about Revry. Once that article came out about a month later (it was like the beginning of August 2016) there was a ripple effect with all these publications picking it up or linking towards it, or translating it, I think to like fifteen or sixteen different languages. At that point, we were on the map and we actually had tons of downloads and thousands of users just exploding overnight by virtue of knowing that we existed. There were consumers out there like us who wanted this service.”

“But there was one in particular that wrote me a letter anonymously on LinkedIn of all platforms. It was from a queer Saudi Arabian man telling me that for the first time in his life, he felt that he had community. He had seen himself reflected in XYZ film that he named in this email, and that he was not alone in fear of telling his family or being out and being Muslim. I remember receiving that message on my LinkedIn, and reading it, and printing it out and framing it, and putting it on my coffee table in my office to remind myself: “this is why I’m doing what I’m doing every day.”

“We are, through representation  and media, giving people hope to live their authentic lives.”

Video Transcript (Clip 2):

A Seat at the Table

“I think the big thing is we’re always super conscious of all of the content in any free-to-consumer platform – whether it’s YouTube or even Samsung TV plus – is following our own standards and practices that we had to implement for ourself to beat these algorithms, which essentially boils down to: nothing over a TV PG-13 rating here in the United States. We don’t put out content in free consumer platforms that passes a TV-PG rating. Some folks in my community can say that that’s censorship..”

“I don’t think that it is. I think that the only way we have a seat at the table is to conform a little bit, open the door, show the value, and then push the limit. Right. It’s what a lot of networks have done before in the past. Case in point: Vice. Vice was heavily scrutinized when it first came out as a network and pushed boundaries on certain topics and subject matters that today are no longer as taboo as it was 20 years ago when they first started. It’s one of my favorite networks to watch and even model ourselves after to an extent. I think that you just gotta get that seat at the table no matter what table that is, and then try to amplify your voice while you’re sitting at that seat.”

Video Transcript (Clip 3):

“Where I think it’s all gonna change, fundamentally is the rules within advertising around what we define as brand safety. Once IAB steps in, or a lobbyist group or someone – the culture shifts and the mentality shifts in America to what we believe today is deemed “brand safe” to what will be brand-safe in three years, I think will be drastically different. Decision-makers will be from different generations and the exposure that they’ve had to what is brand safe and what is not is completely different by generation. Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and so on. I think that the biggest problem for us in our industry, as AVOD and FAST channels and social channels, is the fact that they’re still brands that either are too afraid to dip the toe or unaware of the opportunity or potentially just too conservative of a brand because of its leadership to want to invest into minority voices like LGBTQ platforms or channels or publishers like Revry.”

“I think that there is already a social fundamental shift happening.”

Video Transcript (Clip 4):

“What makes this a really unique opportunity is that in the United States, the LGBTQ GDP is $1.1 trillion and has a brand loyalty rating anywhere between 85 to 95%. So if marketers are spending their advertising dollars with places like Revry, they’re getting a really good return on investment. Part of the entire thesis of our company – our sales team and our marketing team – is to evangelize that worth of that community and the opportunity that maybe some brands are missing out on.”

Damian Pelliccione, CEO & Co-Founder, Revry.