When Writer/Photographer/Content Creator Rashidah De Vore found difficulty getting her projects picked up by different companies and producers, she did what any self-respecting, entrepreneurial-minded woman would do: she created her own way.
After a soft launch in the fall, X On Demand has arrived. A Netflix-style site, it’s a hybrid streaming service and social media site.
“After going through the motions of constantly pitching different projects to production companies and trying to get things off the ground, only to be told that while I was a great writer, my work wouldn’t appeal to white people, I was feeling beat down and thought about other Black creatives who are facing the same obstacles. So, I thought about different ideas and decided on a streaming service,” De Vore told TNJ.com in a recent interview.
XOD offers three monthly subscription plans, with prices ranging from free to $9.99. Each includes Ultra HD and HD video streaming (where applicable), and the site is accessible across all desktop, laptop, and mobile devices – with dedicated mobile and TV apps set to debut later this year. To celebrate its launch, the first 5000 Gold plan subscribers ($4.99/mo) will receive their first month free. Considering certain features, such as video chatting, are only available on the Gold and Black ($9.99/mo) plans – now may be the time to take advantage of it.
“Originally, it was going to be a hobby and a plain and simple streaming service,” says De Vore. “But when I began to do research, I realized there are thousands of streaming services out there so I needed to do something that would set this one apart.”
She thought of Black Twitter.
“Within the Black community, Black Twitter is big. It’s an outlet where we constantly express ourselves, so I thought of combining the two into one platform. I also wanted it to be a place where other Black writers would never be told that their content wasn’t good enough for white people,” she says.
Despite the time it took to get up and running due to the fact that De Vore hadn’t come across the right web developer to build the site according to her vision, the site finally launched yesterday. “I went through three different development teams, but it’s finally done!” A smaller hurdle, she says, was actually getting the content. “As a relatively unknown site coupled with the fact that a lot of people didn’t understand what I was trying to do, it was hard to get filmmakers and distributors with a library of content to give us their content,” she notes.
As for upcoming goals, in the short term this CEO, founder and CFO hopes to further expand the content, reach a wider audience, bring on more subscribers and make more filmmakers aware that X On Demand exists and is a resource for them to submit their work, which can be done through the website.
In the long-term, she hopes to expand the site’s features to go beyond being a web portal to have a global and TV component as well.
Aside from the film streaming aspect, subscribers will also be able to connect with other users through friends’ lists, direct messaging and live public and private text and video chat on movie/show pages and more.
And to make sure that Black creatives have a home, there’s a built-in diversity & inclusion component: at least one person of Black American/African descent in a leading role both in front of and behind the lens is a prerequisite for a project to be considered for the site. Ha!