MAGNA Again Calls for More Spending on TV Ventures Owned by Entrepreneurs from Underrepresented Communities

By Upfronts/NewFronts Archives
Cover image for  article: MAGNA Again Calls for More Spending on TV Ventures Owned by Entrepreneurs from Underrepresented Communities

MAGNA, one of the top global advertising agencies, resumed its crusade to push for more spending on TV ventures owned by entrepreneurs of color -- and reaching multicultural, gay, lesbian and transgender audiences -- last week at its annual Equity Upfront. More than 30 companies were showcased over three days; the first two days in-person from New World Stages in midtown Manhattan, and the third virtually. (Note: This column covers what transpired on day one.)

The Big Message: Time for advertisers to up their annual budgetary commitments on these services and deliver campaigns to them on a consistent year-round basis. "It's about creating lasting relationships with highly influential, loyal audiences," said Dani Benowitz, President of MAGNA's U.S. operations. "Their buying power is way up, and inclusivity drives results for advertisers."

Host:Benowitz hit the stage first with her opening commentary, then turned things over to the showcasing channels and organizations.

What Worked: Breaking down the day into 90-minute or two-hour blocks, with two or three scheduled presentations in each one. Good use of short breaks and a midday lunch break (with food or snacks on hand) to keep attendees motivated and conversing with each other over key takeaways.

What Also Worked:Starting several sessions with videotaped testimonials from individual clients talking about their relationships with different TV services. Short, snappy and complementary to the key themes offered throughout the day.

What Didn't Work:  Revolt and Urban One (managers of TV One and CLEO TV) offered few details about their original programming strategy for this summer, next season and beyond. A major goal of Upfront presentations is to make the case that the content coming down the road to viewers is worth a major advertising investment. The audience on hand appeared all ears to get that info. Also, during the final panel of the day, LATV had nothing to say about their 2023-24 content development.

Data Points:Latino consumers started 2023 with $2.6 trillion in annual buying power, with the gay/lesbian/transgender community having $1.7 trillion, African Americans representing $1.6 trillion and Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders in roughly the same annual buying ballpark.  These stats cover U.S. activity. Also, according to Group Black, African American consumers are ready to shift $260 billion in annual spending to companies that meet their aesthetic, social and cultural needs.

News: Revolt will spend more than $60 million on original programming this year, with some of that investment going to a year-long group of programs marking the 50th anniversary of hip-hop music and culture. One new series there is Retwist and Release,combining hair makeovers with an exploration of mental health issues among African Americans. At Allen Media Group, a monthly series of specials that kicked off this weekend on NBC with Comedy & Music Superfest will continue through the rest of 2023 with coverage of the White House Correspondents Dinner (April), Juneteenth, The Grio Awards (October) and Merry Soulful Christmas (late November/December). The specials will run on either a broadcast network or in syndication among local TV stations. Separately, Allen's HBCU Go channel and multichannel bundle will present thousands of games involving HBCU schools in the months ahead, covering both men's and women's sports. Both ventures also will develop series on HBCU campus culture, STEM students, music performances and financial literacy outreach. Look for more original series on Revry's quartet of smart TV-distributed networks, including travel show Wonderland and six-episode competition King of Drag (coming this fall).

Parting Words:

"It's important to make messages that are culturally relevant." -- Dani Benowitz

"We're the No. 1 place where the biggest conversations happen. We are a unicorn brand and we're building the black Disney." -- Revolt Chief Executive Officer Devatio Samuels

"Investing in diversity-owned media is a growth strategy. It's not just doing good." -- Cavel Khan, Group Black Chief Executive

"Media has the opportunity to change the game for our community. We're the new C-suite in Hollywood." -- Damian Pelliccione, Revry Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

"America is only going to get browner." -- Alfred Liggins III, President and Chief Executive Office of Urban One

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