NEW YORK, June 24, 2020 – April Reign, the equity advocate, former lawyer, cultural marketing expert and creator of #OscarsSoWhite, is partnering with Overture Global, a New York-based media company, to launch a digital content studio to accelerate opportunities around content and development in front of and behind the camera for people of color. The new initiative will be named Ensemble, to signify that it takes a collective effort: people of various talents, backgrounds and cultures to create content that is inclusive, equitable, authentic and relevant for the masses.
The goal is to develop sustainable programming, while leveraging distribution platforms to create large audiences. Ensemble services include: development, production, promotion, distribution, sales, marketing, and enterprise. The world is at a point where the overall consumption of content is at an all-time high, while stories by, for, and about people of color have historically been stymied. With the advent of streaming platforms, and the increased desire for short-form sponsored content, the opportunities Ensemble offers for content providers, artists and brands are limitless.
April Reign says: “I'm excited to be partnering with Overture. They have a reputation for creating professional content for a switched-on audience. We are in a unique period wherein we’re able to bring together brands and creators to tell stories, such as interviews, web series and documentaries, that reflect a wide range of American and global human experiences.”
Donnovan Andrews, CEO of Overture explains: “We know, for example, the mobile usage rate by young African Americans is extremely high and Ensemble intends to create a platform for showcasing mindful and considerate content developed by and for African Americans. Until now, Overture has focused on telling societal-impact stories, such as innovative efforts to solve the global water shortage and supporting women in international STEAM (science, tech, engineering, art and mathematics) fields. Ensemble is an organic extension of this work, focused on thought-provoking content for influential and connected communities. These will be the stories that need to be told, and perspectives that need to be delivered.”
Below are some startling statistics from Nielsen. Essentially, the Black community has a high use of mobile technology and digital content consumption; however, there is a significant gap in programming, ownership and sponsor funding for this influential audience:
● 61% of African Americans are fascinated by new technology; and 37% are early adopters (they are more likely than the total population to be the first among their peers to try new technologies).
● 96% of all African American adults have/use a smartphone, compared to 95% of the population.
● African Americans over 35 surpass similar age-group consumers by 2% for smartphone ownership.
● African Americans spend more time-consuming video on their Android phones and iPhones compared to the total population.
● YouTube is the most consumed entertainment app for African-Americans (79%). Netflix has the highest market share among subscription video on-demand apps with 39%, according to Nielsen.
What is more, in 2018, Nielsen estimated Black buying power at $1.2 trillion. Yet, that same year, only about $18 billion was spent on African-American-centric digital and mainstream media, a 5 percent decline from the previous year.
April Reign recognized this disparity. As the creator of the viral hashtag-turned-movement #OscarsSoWhite, she has been challenging the lack of representation of marginalized communities in Hollywood, and beyond, since 2015. Reign sustains a movement that has, arguably, resulted in the most permanent systemic change ever seen in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 80-plus-year history. Her name continues to be synonymous with this historic change, the results of which are reverberating throughout the entertainment industry and will do so for decades to come.
Adds Andrews, “This is not to say all of the content we produce will be exclusively for the Black audience: our strategy is heavily based on creating, and supporting inclusive content production and delivery opportunities for diverse teams… in a way that hasn't been done before. Just think about the stories from refugees, immigrants and cultural influencers that’ve been lost because they’ve been historically excluded from this process.”
ABOUT APRIL REIGN
Ms. Reign is an influential and sought-after media presence; she has built an impressive global social media following across several platforms, as well as a network of recognized celebrities, creators, activists, and corporate decision makers. She capitalizes on this network and her experience, using her voice to spark conversations and explore issues of race, politics and culture, helping to structure ways to turn dialogue into action.
April Reign travels internationally, speaking at academic institutions and conferences; she appears at industry awards, festivals and events, and is highly sought-after for consulting with organizations regarding issues of diversity and inclusion.
Overture Global is a media platform and thought leadership community built to inspire those working across boundaries, industries, disciplines, and generations. Overture focuses on the intersection of innovation and our culture of change, by curating conversations for a young, digital, connected audience via content online, print, video, and live events. Its members and sponsors include Facebook, Google, Spotify, the World Bank, the Nature Conservancy, International Rescue Committee, US State Department, British State Department, and Johnson & Johnson, among many others.