Russell Simmons believes that ADD Video will make money, as long as his YouTube channel creates exciting programming
Russell Simmons has a newfound love for YouTube and a longstanding beef with Tinseltown: "Hollywood is lost when it comes to integration," he told TheWrap on Monday, after announcing a new YouTube channel.
"It's a liberal town, and they say 'we want to do more, we want to become more inclusive,' but they've failed," he added. "Well, I'm in charge, and I know how to attract multi-racial singers and produce fun stuff that mixes cultures."
Simmons is in charge, in fact, of his soon-to-launch hip-hop lifestyle channel, ADD Video, which will begin broadcasting by the end of the year.
The launch was announced Monday as part of YouTube's bid to expand its investment in original content. Google-owned YouTube spent more than $100 million to grow its programming a year ago and is now broadening its offerings to include shows from the likes of Simmons, Adam Carolla and Grantland.
"I'm an entrepreneur," Simmons told TheWrap. "I believe that if you give the world something good, it pays you for it. There are a lot of ways to monetize things."
He's particularly eager to use his channel to promote African-American comics and musicians, much as he did with Def Jam Recordings and Def Comedy Jam. It's something he said the entertainment business has failed to do in recent years.
Although he said the channel will be aimed at rap fans, Simmons said he plans to keep the focus loose and could see the channel offering up everything from documentaries on the Middle East to instructional videos on meditation (Simmons is a fan of yoga).
"I have a million ideas that come to me every day," he said. "But if I have a whim, I can shoot a seven-minute movie and see immediately if an idea works."
He hopes to drive audience to the channel via cross-promotions with Global Grind, his hip-hop and pop culture site. Simmons said he sees the YouTube channel initiative as an opportunity to connect with the next generation of tastemakers.
"I'm on the bleeding edge, but I could be on the cutting edge," he said. "There's a younger audience, but they're getting older. It doesn't have to replace cable for me to be happy with what I'm doing. It can just be a place for people to view cool, new stuff."