Black Owned Media
Black Owned Media

TANTV CEO Adedayo Fashanu & BOMESI Co-Founder Rhonesha Byng Discuss the Critical Need for Ad Dollars in Black-Owned Media

BOMESI is empowering Black-owned media through strategic initiatives, community support, and innovative partnerships to create a more inclusive and sustainable media landscape.

5 mins read

On this installment of #TANTVTALKS, Adedayo sits with Rhonesha to discuss the relevance of Black Owned Media and Why it is critical for more corporations to invest advertising dollars in BIPOC led media.

Bridging Gaps in the Media Landscape: How BOMESI is Uplifting Black-Owned Media

In the current climate, where diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are increasingly scrutinized, directing advertising dollars to Black-owned media is more critical than ever.

“We need to reframe the conversation around DEI to highlight its importance for business success and social impact. Brands that invest in diverse media not only support equity but also reach engaged, loyal audiences.” … Rhonesha Byng – Co-Founder, BOMESI & Founder, CEO, HerAgenda

Diversity and representation aren’t just buzzwords; they are the foundations upon which sustainable growth and cultural vibrancy thrive. At the forefront of this renewed call is the Black Owned Media Equity & Sustainability Institute (BOMESI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and investing in Black-owned media outlets, fostering an ecosystem where their voices are not just heard but amplified. “BOMESI’s mission is to empower Black-owned media businesses, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities to thrive in a competitive industry.

BOMESI’s mission is rooted in three pillars: ecosystem building, education, and economic empowerment.” explains Byng.

“We started out by listing Black-owned media platforms that exist across the country on our website. We have a community on WhatsApp, where we talk every day, and that’s never happened before. Legacy media companies and new media companies actually being transparent with each other and talking, sharing strategy insights and helping each other.”

The Gap BOMESI Saw to Fill

BOMESI was established to address a glaring need in the media landscape—support and sustainability for Black-owned media outlets. Byng and her co-founder, DéVon, saw firsthand the systemic barriers that Black-owned media outlets face, including limited access to advertising dollars and strategic partnerships.

“There was never any platform or any organization that actually represented diverse media owners. That’s a whole different arena, different ball game,” Byng stated. 

“BOMESI was created to bridge that gap, providing not just advocacy but tangible support and investment.” The institute pioneered an innovative media collective/network model, enabling Black-owned media outlets to pool their resources and collectively pursue advertising deals. A transformative approach to sustaining and supporting these diverse publishers.

Initiatives to Support and Invest in Black-Owned Media

Equity remains a significant issue in the media industry, with Black-owned outlets often overlooked. “We need to address systemic racism and other barriers head-on,” Byng asserts. “This involves not just advocating for change but creating systems that support sustainable growth for Black-owned media.”

Several initiatives have been launched to support Black-owned media, including the BOMESI Accelerator Program. This program provides emerging media companies with grants, training, and strategic partnerships.

“Through our accelerator, we’ve been able to give out over $400,000 in non-dilutive grants,” notes Byng. “This funding is crucial for these companies to scale their operations and increase their reach.”

Additionally, it created the BOMESI Collective, a consortium of media platforms that collaborate on advertising deals to ensure better scale and bargaining power. “By working together, we can secure larger deals and distribute the benefits across multiple outlets,” Byng explains. “This collective approach taps into the tradition of collective economics, lifting all boats as we rise.”

Directing Advertising Dollars in a Challenging Era

When it comes directing critical advertising dollars to publishers in its collective, BOMESI employs several tools to facilitate this, including programmatic advertising, direct deals, and sourcing requests for proposals (RFPs).

“We’ve developed innovative solutions like the BOMESI scale, which adjusts payment models to ensure equitable distribution of advertising dollars” ….

“This helps smaller outlets grow their audience and revenue.” Byng notes.

As Byng explained, “When we do a deal with BOMESI, we’re not an agency. We’re a nonprofit. So we’re thinking about how can we actually make the deal equitable?

Industry Challenges and BOMESI’s Meaningful Impact

One of the more critial challenges Black and diverse-owned media face primarily, is securing advertising dollars and achieving visibility. “A significant issue is the lack of relationships with advertisers and the broader advertising ecosystem,” Byng highlights. “Without these connections, media outlets struggle to secure the necessary revenue to sustain and grow their operations.”

Supporting Black-owned media also helps bridge the information gap for underserved communities. “These outlets provide crucial news and perspectives that mainstream media often overlook,” Byng adds. “By supporting them, we strengthen the social and economic fabric of multicultural communities.

Through its unwavering commitment to supporting and investing in Black-owned media outlets, BOMESI is not only amplifying diverse voices but also unlocking new business growth opportunities for corporations, small businesses, and brands alike.

TANTV CEO, Adedayo Fashanu in conversation with Rhonesha Byng – Co-Founder, BOMESI & Founder, CEO, HerAgenda

Unlocking Value for Brands and Impact

“Brands that advertise with us see better click-through rates and longer engagement times.” – BOMESI

Investing in Black-owned media offers substantial returns for businesses and brands. “Our platforms have deep connections with their audiences,” Byng explains. “This translates to higher engagement rates and stronger brand loyalty. Brands that advertise with us see better click-through rates and longer engagement times.”

Successful partnerships between corporations and Black-owned media are already evident. Byng cites examples like Danone, which committed a significant portion of its advertising budget to diverse media. “Their investment helps us support and grow these platforms, benefiting both the media companies and the brands.”

Byng advises that to ensure investments in Black-owned media are impactful and sustainable, advertisers and companies need to focus on long-term commitments. “It’s not about a one-time ad buy, it’s about building ongoing partnerships that support continuous growth and development.”

BOMESI measures the success of its programs through several metrics, including increased revenue for partner media outlets, expanded audience reach, and enhanced visibility within the advertising industry. “Our impact is evident in the growth and sustainability of the media companies we support,” says Byng. “We track metrics like page views, advertising revenue, and audience engagement to ensure our initiatives are making a meaningful difference.”

Community Collaboration, Support and Sustainability

Local communities play a vital role in supporting Black-owned media. “Community members can subscribe to their local Black-owned publications, attend events, and promote these outlets within their networks,” Byng suggests.

“Local businesses can also allocate part of their advertising budget to support these platforms.” Collaboration between community members, local businesses, and Black-owned media is essential for creating a more inclusive media landscape. “By working together, we can ensure these outlets not only survive but thrive,”

“This collaboration is key to fostering a diverse and equitable media ecosystem.”

Future Directions for BOMESI

BOMESI aims to expand its support for Black-owned media. “We envision a future where BOMESI provides even more substantial grants, potentially reaching six figures,” Byng shares. “We want to create a foundation that distributes working capital to fuel innovation and growth.”

Individuals and organizations can get involved with BOMESI by participating in their programs, attending events, and advocating for Black-owned media. One of such event is Black-Owned Media Weekend a marquee event for BOMESI and its partners. “This year’s conference themed The Future of BlackOwned Media, is a unique opportunity for diverse media owners to connect, share strategies, and collaborate with advertisers,” Byng explains. “It’s a celebration of our achievements and a platform for driving future growth.”

“We welcome anyone who shares our mission to join us,” Byng encourages. “Together, we can drive meaningful change in the media landscape.”

For new Black-owned media startups, Byng offers this advice: “Focus on building a strong connection with your community. Hire locally, pay your writers fairly, and stay true to your mission. By simply existing and sharing your unique perspective, you are already making a significant impact.”

Afterall, investing in Black-owned media is not just an investment in the media itself, but an investment in the future of our communities.

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