Connect With Us

Listen: How Kin Community Turns TV Stars Into Digital Dynamos

Andrew Wallenstein for Variety,
Like many digital media companies, Kin Community grew its business on the backs of “influencers” who built their audiences on digital platforms like YouTube. Which worked well … until it didn’t.“What we did learn was that when you have open platforms that you can very quickly commoditize talent,” observed Kin CEO Michael Wayne on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.”

As he’s had to do a number of times over the 11 years Kin (previously known as Deca) has been around, Wayne has refocused his business to adapt to the never-ending challenges content companies face in online video. This time around, he’s putting increasing emphasis on lining up TV stars including Tia Mowry, Adrienne Bailon, and Derek Hough for their own shows, catering to a female-skewing audience ages 25-44.

Kin helps established talent that may have sizable social presences, but lack the infrastructure and strategic capabilities to make their shows thrive online. “As we talk to traditional talent, we find they’ve been successful on television, built large followings, but taking the next step into video isn’t so easy,” said Wayne. “They’re not just going to start from scratch.”

Kin is creating shows that are starting to rival the audience size of cable programming. “We truly believe we are going to be able to compete on a cable-network basis,” said Wayne. “We think of ourselves as a next-generation cable network.”

Strictly Business is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business”episodes featuring comedian/actor/producer Kevin Hart, CBS’ David Nevins, HBO’s Richard Plepler, 10 by 10’s Tyra Banks, AMC Networks’ Josh Sapan, FX Networks’ John Landgraf, Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff, Snap’s Nick Bell, and others. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud