On Thursday, June 9, the organization OTT.X will hold its inaugural diversity summit at the Skirball Cultural Center in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Focused on the entertainment industry and free to attend, the specific purpose of the all-day conference is to spotlight nascent streaming services with regard to opportunities for minority groups and underrepresented communities at all levels of the business.
“What’s wonderful about OTT.X is this is a community of not only really strong professionals who have experience throughout the genesis of digital and home television, but who actually care that everyone has a seat at the table,” said Joye Johnson-Smith, the committee chair of the 2022 Diversity Summit, who credited OTT.X for making diversity a priority.
Coming out of the George Floyd protests in 2020, a group of professionals — not in the minority community, but predominantly Anglo-Americans — wanted to ensure that people of color had a voice in the entertainment arts. Johnson-Smith pitched several of the aforementioned individuals on the concept of a diversity summit.
“We could bring people of color, from [the] LGBTQ community, women, and other underserved communities, together to get the same kind of information and networking opportunities that [the professionals] recognize that those communities don’t always have,” recalled Johnson-Smith.
“Our goal is to help move the country forward,” she said of the upcoming summit. “Diversity is our strength. We want to see that reflected across every business in this country. That’s no different in the streaming industry. Our goal with this summit is to ensure that opportunity, access, and education are available to folks who don’t always get a seat at the table.”
In 2020, Johnson-Smith founded Gather TV, the first online network to pair travel content with travel planning and booking, and with regard to the abundance of streaming services these days, she believes that the concept of streaming media itself is here to stay.
“That is now the way that people want to watch television. What we’ll see is some consolidation. Niche providers are really turning television into a space for not just content, but for community,” she explained.
To hear Johnson-Smith tell it, those working in the entertainment sector have much to gain and little to lose by checking out the planned presentations and discussions on June 9, which will bring together executives from across the globe who work in content creation, distribution, and technology.
“There’s a movement growing for diversity to be intentional and not just talk,” she said. “They’ll see some great companies that are engaging and choosing ways to connect with those communities and present opportunities and education.”
OTT.X will upload video from the June 9 event on their website. For more information about attending, click here.