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Black-Owned Streaming Service Vyre is the Platform for Global Independent Programming
By Keith Underwood, Contributing Writer
Published October 6, 2022

David Hill (Courtesy Photo)

Philadelphia raised David Hill and Lamar Seay have collectively been in the business of media since the early 2000s.  They moved to California and together started a publishing company, Viral Music Media, which circulated periodicals like True Magazine, R&B Magazine, and many more.

The company went almost completely digital in 2016, with a few remaining sales from magazine newsstands.  After two years in 2018, Hill and Seay began losing money on the magazine websites and came to the realization, in the words of Hill, that “they needed to do something else.”

Hill says he was at home skimming through streaming services when he had a revelation:  the pair could start their own digital content platform.  He shared his idea with Seay, and in 2018 the Vyre Network was born.  Vyre is currently available for free through apps on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Android, iPhone, Samsung TV, and at www.vyrenetwork.com.

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“From there, we just went full blast,” said Hill.  Playing off the name of their original publishing company Viral Music Media, Hill, Seay, and their team intentionally chose a name for the streaming company with four letters and two syllables.

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“We were thinking that when we went public, most Fortune 500 companies’ names were four letters and two syllables, so that’s why we chose that format,” said Seay.

The company’s business model is broken up into three different divisions, according to Hill, distribution, livestream, and production studio.  Content on Vyre was originally mined from relationships they had developed in the industry.

Lamar Seay (Courtesy Photo)

“Our original magazines became programs on the channel,” says Hill.  “From there, we started reaching out to some of our friends in the film industry and started collecting content.”

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The official launch date was 2019, one year after Vyre’s inception, with just 200 items of content.

“It took us six-months to get up to 2500 pieces of content… we started out on Roku, then Amazon, then mobile devices, to all Apple platforms.  Wherever you could download Hulu, you could download Vyre,” said Hill.

They teamed with an advertising partner to begin bringing revenue into the company by “running commercials between content.” Today, Hill says they have more than 12,179 films licensed to them from all over the world, and Vyre is “downloaded in 186 countries.”

The platform prides itself on housing content from acclaimed independent creators, and in the words of Hill, “our goal is to find the next generation of great filmmakers.  We will find the next Spielberg.  We will have their content on Vyre before it goes anywhere else.”

Vyre logo (Courtesy Photo)

Vyre also has several niche channels, including sports (football, boxing & documentaries), music (Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop & EDM), comedy, several international channels, and more in the planning.  They also intend on producing more original content and Vyre exclusives.

On November 9th – November 13th, the third annual Vyre Film Festival, coined VFF3, will take place.  The program includes dramatic and documentary features and short films, series, and episodic content in the form of multimedia, performances, and films. VFF3 will also host filmmaker conversations, panel discussions, and live music events.

“When you win at the Vyre Festival, we put marketing behind your project. You get a marketing deal, and you get global distribution through our platform,” said Hill.  “We don’t try to handcuff you either.  Our distribution deals our non-exclusive.”

Vyre is currently reviewing over 250 films for the festival, says Hill.  They will also livestream educational sessions featuring topics like project pitching, a writers’ room session, casting, a director’s POV, film/television editing, and much more.

For additional information on Vyre Network, it’s programming, and VFF3, visit www.vyrenetwork.com.

Categories: Entertainment | News (Entertainment) | TV
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