Hum Client Spotlight: Here Media
Our Client Spotlight series features business leaders, entrepreneurs, and company executives from high-growth companies who have successfully fundraised via Hum’s Intelligent Capital Market. Each Q&A will discuss why they started the company, challenges they faced in scaling, and why they chose to partner with Hum.
Here Media operates the most established, most recognized, and most talked-about media brands serving the LGBTQ+ market.
Paul Colichman is Here Media’s CEO. In this Client Spotlight Q&A, Colichman discusses Here Media’s mission and the importance of creating content serving the LGBTQ+ community.
Q: Thanks for taking the time, Paul! First, can you provide a brief overview of Here Media and the company’s mission?
A: At Here Media, our mission is to create, distribute, and inspire content that celebrates every aspect of the LGBTQ+ experience. We are committed to the development and representation of diverse voices, fostering an environment of understanding, acceptance, and unity through the power of media. By utilizing a wide array of platforms, we aim to amplify the stories that need to be told, fostering a global community that is informed, engaged, and empowered. We believe in the transformative power of storytelling and strive to be a beacon for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, standing as a reminder that every individual deserves to be seen, heard, and cherished.
Q: Can you share how the company has grown into an established media brand today since its founding in 2003?
A: HereTV was founded in 2003 as a groundbreaking effort to provide a space for LGBTQ+ storytelling in the television industry. Since its inception, HereTV has been dedicated to creating and promoting content that accurately and authentically represents the diverse experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.
Over the years, HereTV has grown significantly by consistently producing original, high-quality content. This content spans a wide array of genres, including drama, comedy, documentary, and news. The platform’s exclusive and inclusive programming has been a distinguishing feature that sets it apart in an increasingly crowded media landscape.
In the early years, HereTV distinguished itself by becoming the first 24/7 LGBTQ+ premium cable TV network in the United States. This innovative step set the stage for the company to become an influential player in the media industry.
Recognizing the importance of digital platforms in the evolving media landscape, HereTV successfully transitioned to a multi-platform model, making its content accessible on cable, satellite, and digital platforms. It offered its content through video on demand, pay-per-view, and subscription-based services, thus increasing accessibility for a wider audience.
HereTV has also been committed to producing high-quality original programming. Its productions have earned critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including Daytime Emmy Awards, further solidifying its place as a leading brand in the industry.
Finally, the company’s growth has also been driven by its engagement with its community. HereTV has developed a reputation for listening to its audience and providing the representation that the LGBTQ+ community has often found lacking in mainstream media.
Q: With June being Pride Month, can you talk about the importance of creating content serving the LGTBQ+ community?
A: HereTV’s commitment to creating content serving the LGBTQ+ community is indeed of paramount importance, particularly during Pride Month but also throughout the entire year.
- Representation: The mainstream media has historically underrepresented, and often misrepresented, the LGBTQ+ community. HereTV addresses this by creating content that accurately and authentically portrays the diverse experiences of this community. This representation is crucial because it validates individual experiences and helps LGBTQ+ individuals see themselves in the media they consume.
- Visibility: HereTV’s content increases visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. This can be incredibly powerful, particularly for individuals who are still exploring their identities or who may feel isolated because of their identity. It sends the message that they are not alone and that there is a community that accepts and supports them.
- Education and Awareness: HereTV’s content also plays a crucial role in educating viewers about the LGBTQ+ community and its experiences. This helps build understanding and empathy among viewers who may not be part of the community themselves, which can lead to greater acceptance and inclusivity in society more broadly.
- Celebration of Diversity: The content created by HereTV celebrates the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. It acknowledges and respects the range of experiences and identities within the community, rather than reducing it to stereotypes or cliches.
- Advocacy and Activism: Through its content, HereTV can bring attention to the issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces and advocate for change. It can inform viewers about these issues and inspire them to take action, fostering a culture of activism and social justice.
- Safe Space: Lastly, HereTV provides a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a platform where viewers can explore and express their identities without fear of judgment or discrimination.
In summary, HereTV’s dedication to producing content that serves the LGBTQ+ community contributes to the overall progress in promoting inclusivity, equality, and respect for diversity, particularly during Pride Month when the spotlight is on these crucial issues.
Q: Why did you and the Here Media team decide to raise outside capital to help grow the business?
A: The decision to raise outside capital was both strategic and necessary for Here Media’s growth.
Firstly, we recognized that to significantly expand our reach within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond, we needed to accelerate our marketing efforts. This acceleration requires substantial resources. While we have been experiencing steady organic growth, the additional capital allows us to expedite this process and seize unique market opportunities, like the current lower cost of marketing in the streaming sector, thus driving down our customer acquisition cost while continuing to grow revenue.
Secondly, by raising external capital, we can focus our existing resources on improving our product offerings, ensuring our content remains award-winning and relevant to our audience.
Q: How did you and Here Media discover Hum Capital and what was your experience like working with Hum’s team and raising capital via the Intelligent Capital Market (ICM)?
A: I first learned about Hum Capital at a CEO networking function at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where I received my MBA. A fellow alumnus introduced me to their innovative financing solutions and that sparked my interest. I was immediately intrigued by their unique approach to capital funding, using the Intelligent Capital Market (ICM).
Working with Hum Capital has been an enlightening and rewarding experience. Their team consists of professionals who not only excel at what they do but also have a deep understanding of the unique needs of businesses like ours. Their sophisticated approach, attention to detail, and the ability to analyze complex viewing data, subscriber acquisition, and retention information set them apart.
Raising capital via the ICM has been a game-changer for us. It was seamless, efficient, and designed to align with our business goals. The ICM allowed us to connect with a diverse group of investors, which wouldn’t have been possible with traditional capital-raising methods.
In essence, the decision to work with Hum Capital and utilize the ICM platform was driven by the unique opportunity it presented for our business – a cost-competitive and flexible solution that not only finances our growth but also resonates with our mission to serve the LGBTQ+ community with high-quality content. I would highly recommend Hum Capital to any business looking for a personalized, data-driven approach to raising capital.
Q: How for a fun question! What’s been your favorite moment as CEO of Here Media?
A: That’s a wonderful question! There have been many rewarding moments as CEO of Here Media, but one that stands out is winning the Emmy Award for our children’s program, “Girls Voices Now.”
“Girls Voices Now” is an empowering program aimed at giving voice to the experiences and perspectives of underrepresented young girls. Its mission is to inspire, educate, and engage young viewers by showcasing stories of courage, strength, and resilience. The program is rooted in our belief that every story matters and deserves to be heard. It’s designed to promote acceptance, understanding, and equality among children, while also addressing the challenges and celebrating the victories of the LGBTQ+ community.
The moment our name was called at the Emmy Awards was not just a win for Here Media, but it felt like a win for the entire LGBTQ+ community. It was a validation of the work we do, the content we create, and the impact we have. To me, it signified that our mission to empower and represent the LGBTQ+ community is being recognized and appreciated on a wider scale.
However, the real joy comes from the messages we receive from young viewers who feel seen, heard, and understood through “Girls Voices Now.” Knowing that we’re making a difference, fostering inclusivity, and giving strength to these young voices – that’s the most rewarding part of being CEO of Here Media.
This testimonial may not represent the experience of all clients and is not indicative of future performance or success.