By KWAN BOOTH and TRACIE POWELL
It started with the launch of Blavity, a platform that targets black millennials, and Abernathy, an online magazine for black men. Both caught fire in 2015. Tired of waiting for mainstream media to “get it” and to “get them,” 2016 will be the year millennial, women, and people of color go all in with their own media platforms, giving mainstream outlets a real run for the money– both in terms of audience growth, content development and revenue.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 media ventures we expect to see blow-up next year… In a good way.
- Rosarium Publishing (www.rosariumpublishing.com/)
- Rosarium is a two-year-old publishing company focused on genre fiction and graphic novels by people of color. Notable 2015 work includes the “Stories for Chip” anthology honoring famous black science fiction writer Samuel Delany and “APB: Artists against Police Brutality,” an anthology of short comics about police violence and prison reform. 2016 projects include an anthology of SouthEast Asian Steam Punk and a series of children’s fantasy novels by Iranian writers.
- Everyday Feminism (everydayfeminism.com/)
- Everyday Feminism is the largest feminist media site focused on providing media, and cultural analysis from an intersectional social justice perspective. Popular 2015 topics included cultural appropriation, white privilege, mental illness and cis gender identity. In 2016, expect to see Everyday Feminism expand into comics and multimedia with more focus on rape culture, immigration, queerness and class inequality.
- Buzzfeed’s pop culture podcast hosted by Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton covering “everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes.” Notable interviews in 2015 included Hillary Clinton, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Melissa Harris-Perry. Expect to hear more political figures on this podcast in 2016. If politicians are smart, they’ll come here to reach millennial voters.
- This Week In Blackness (thisweekinblackness.com/)
- Multiplatform news, opinion and pop culture analysis of issues relevant to black communities. The network features a series of podcasts and a website that regularly comment on, and drive conversations, around police brutality, sexism and media bias. Expect to see users increasingly tune-in to This Week In Blackness in 2016 as an alternative to national mainstream news media outlets.
- The Phat Startup (www.thephatstartup.com/)
- Media company producing business and entrepreneurial focused content with a bent on combining technology and hip hop culture. The Phat Startup team produces a traveling conference and regular podcast interviews with well known business, entertainment and tech figures including Tristan Walker, Gary Vaynerchuck, and James Altucher. Look to The Phat Startup as an alternative, or supplement to, Recode and other mainstream tech sites.
- Black men’s magazine/journal launched in 2015. Features long form essays, interviews and commentary on culture, business, tech, social justice and identity issues relevant to black men. More nimble and flexible, Abernathy has already beat ESPN’s “The Undefeated” to a successful launch. In 2016 look for the company to continue building on its audience and adding corporate sponsors (it already has several including MailChimp and Basecamp) to its roster.
- Blavity (blavity.com/)
- In a little more than a year, Blavity has become one of the most innovative voices in online media by focusing on content that appeals to, and prioritizes, black millenials. The site combines news, explanatory pieces, multimedia and a network of active social media accounts to connect with a young audience often missed by traditional news organizations. In 2016 the company will be focused on growing the brand and content offerings and is actively hiring new staff to help build the future of media.
- Emblematic Group (www.emblematicgroup.com/)
- Founded by award winning transmedia journalist Nonny De La Pena, Emblematic is leading the conversation around virtual reality and 3D storytelling for journalists and media organizations. Standout projects include One Dark Night which combines 911 calls with an immersive virtual reality environment to recreate the night of Trayvon Martin’s death and Kiya, a virtual reality piece dealing with domestic violence. In 2016, as cheaper virtual reality headsets hit the market, look to Emblematic to begin connecting communities of color in ways Twitter and Instagram have not.
- Co-founded in April 2015 by Jill Koziol and Liz Tenety, this isn’t just another website for moms. Mother.ly targets millenial moms who want week-by-week personalized product information and advice. Mother.ly is part of the fifth cohort mentored by MATTER, an accelerator for early stage media entrepreneurs. In 2016 look for Mother.ly to monetize itself by offering online-classes, producing buying guides and through expertly matching products with highly selective members of its growing community.
- Mingyian (mingyian.com/)
- Co-founded by Jenny Bai and Rebecca Eydeland, Mingyian is a three-year-old platform that connects Western celebrities with millions of super-fans in China; has already amassed an audience of 7 million users; and raised $850.000 in seed funding. These numbers have caught the attention of several celebrities who want to be part of Mingyian’s growing network, including rapper Pitbull, basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, singer Jessie J, and actor Verne Troyer of Austin Powers’ fame. Mingyian has even caught the eye, and the money, of director M. Night Shyamalan who is backing the company. In 2016, look to Mingyian, another early stage MATTER venture, to make significant inroads into China’s $330 billion mobile commerce market, capitalizing on 415 million Chinese millennials interested in Western music and culture.