Not content with creating Viacom’s Logo channel – Launched in 2005 as the company’s first channel filled with content aimed at the previously massively under-served lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender viewership – former MTV executive Matt Farber is looking to repeat his success with that audience with the upcoming launch of Gwist, a new YouTube channel aimed at exactly the same audience that launches early next year.
In addition to Logo, Farber has experience launching media imprints based at the LGBT demographic; through Logo, he was instrumental in the creation of Clear Channel’s Radio With A Twist station, as well as Sony Music’s imprint Music With A Twist (He’s also the President of Wilderness Media & Entertainment, a brand and content company specializes in targeting the LGBT audience that he founded in 2001). The “with a twist” branding is actually the origin for the name of the new YouTube venture; “Gwist” is actually short for “TV With A Gay Twist,” apparently. The new YouTube channel aims to not only create and curate content for LGBT viewers, but also uncover new voices and creators from the LGBT community at large, both inside and outside the existing YouTube audience.
Talking about the launch of Gwist, Farber suggested that such an online channel was merely a matter of time, with digital media already known for its specialist and niche audiences: “An online video network is a natural next step in the evolution of gay media and entertainment,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “The social media, on demand and universal distribution aspects of online and mobile video are perfectly suited for niche programming. With broadcast and cable networks becoming more homogenous in order to reach the broadest audience, and online video consumption reaching critical mass, the time feels right for Gwist.”
The new channel will launch with 10 all-new series ranging from scripted drama to current affairs discussions, with multiple other familiar formats and genres (including game shows, sketch comedy and even some animation) in between; creators for the shows include pundit Howard Bragman, Matthew I. Jenkins (from Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force), filmmaker Tina Cesa Ward, YouTube personality Randy Rainbow and former WNBA star Margot Clark, who’ll be appearing in Love’n’Mo, a series described by Gwist as “a gay girls’ guide to sex and relationships for straight men” from producers Amy Goldstein and Steve Chivers.
Of course, Farber won’t be working on Gwist alone. In fact, he’ll be working on the channel with an old colleague, former Logo VP Creative Brian Tolleson; outside of their partnership at the Viacom-owned channel, the two also currently work together at New York-based brand integration company Bark Bark.
Current scheduling calls for Gwist to launch on YouTube on January 14, 2013.