Music producer, entrepreneur and fashion mogul Pharrell Williams recently joined the executive team of
upstart youth-culture network Karmaloop TV as creative director for new programming. He has also taken an
equity position in the channel. Williams, who has worked with and produced hits for such artists as Gwen Stefani,
Jay-Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, talked about his plans for Karmaloop TV in an
e-mail interview with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead. An edited transcript follows.
MCN: Why did you decide to take both a financial
and creative interest in upstart Karmaloop TV?
Pharrell Williams: Because I believe in what they
represent, and what they are trying to do, creating
a multiplatform network catering to the tastes of
I really appreciate how they are trying to both
serve and merge cultures — creating a new programming
platform that reclaims the 18-to-34
demographic for cable operators, and gives techand
trend-savvy young people a network catered
to their interests. It’s also a great business proposition,
creating a network for the most underserved
audience in cable.
MCN: From a creative perspective what projects
would you like to bring to Karmaloop TV?
PW: Ha ha. We’re not telling you everything just yet,
but expect it to be next-level.
One thing I’m especially excited about is Rat, Rang,
Rilla. It’s an off beat puppet show for which I am creating
the characters that chronicle the music-superstar
lifestyle. Think The Muppets with an edge, merged
MCN: What’s your message
to cable, satellite and
telco distributors who are
deciding whether to launch
Karmaloop TV to their
PW: First of all, we want to
thank you for having us.
We just want to tell them
we look forward to helping
each other out and forming
a big bro/big sis relationship.
We also want them to
look to us to help them
understand the motivations
and how to market
to this new edge of the
youth market, which has
over $90 billion in buying
power, for advice on
social media, viral marketing
— something Karmaloop
has employed to great success for a decade.
MCN: How will Karmaloop serve a young demographic
better than other, more established networks such as BET
PW: It’s not about being better than one network or another.
We just want to serve a particular culture that we feel
has been underserved. There are many messages out there:
MTV has a message, BET has a message and we feel that
we will have our own unique message. Karmaloop TV can
help operators tap a huge and lucrative audience, one that
will be key to the future of not only cable, but the advanced
services they want to sell in to these early adopters.
MCN: Beyond Karmaloop TV, what other projects are you
PW: Well, I’m always working on a lot of things, but today
I’m just here to talk about Karmaloop TV. I wouldn’t be
talking to you if it wasn’t one of the most important projects
I’m working on!