By Schondra Aytch
The experts agree. This is a great time for Black stories and Black storytellers. And the big guns – from Netflix to Hulu – can’t do it all.
Enter SkoVuTV – Buffalo’s only Black owned and operated streaming service, offering its viewers “some of the best independent original films, series, talk and reality shows in one place.”
In the last 6 months SkoVu TV has garnered over 40, 000 views on its hit show, How I Came Up. Detailing the stories of DJs, media personalities, celebrities and entrepreneurs from Buffalo and abroad, the success story series has become a catalyst for local creatives to network.
Uniting producers, writers, and artists together, SkoVu TV’s growing engagement from How I Came Up is a step towards the on-demand network’s plan to expand. Already providing over 160 hours of original content on the platform, creator Phil Davis is set to double that number by the end of this year.
“We want to make sure that our company offers more than just a streaming platform,” said Davis. “ We offer education, offer training and we offer production.”
The goal is to ultimately make SkoVu a “one-stop shop” for media businesses and advertisers.. Slated to film a handful of new projects this year, SkoVu Tv is looking to build an even a stronger relationship with the creative community in Buffalo.
-From On-stage to On Screen-
For over a decade, Phil, an extraordinarily talented thespian with strong roots in Buffalo’s Black theatre community, ran his own theatre company, Alemaedae Theater Productions, writing scripts, acting and advocating on behalf of the city’s youth.
He hit an uneasy stride when his TV pilot titled Daddy’s Girls Club had the opportunity to be featured on Netflix. Initially excited, Phil soon became concerned about the longevity of his work on the popular streaming service. Upon further research he realized investing in his own platform would allow continued ownership over his original content.
Ironically, when his deal with Netflix fell through, Phil partnered with a company to provide a server capable of streaming his shows, creating SkoVu Tv in 2018. (Phil – the creative spirit that he is – came up with the name SkoVu by combining his sons nick names).
“One thing I really wanted to accomplish when I started this network, even the idea, is that I wanted…people who have dreams and aspirations to not feel how I felt when I was like ‘Man, what happens if.’ I want people to be able to take that out of their mindset and say you know ‘What is going to happen is,’” explained Phil.
While making this ambitious move, he reached out to his older brother, Jimmie Davis, and friend, Korey Green for support. A fellow content creator, Green’s directing and filmmaking expertise was needed and Jimmie, who has worked in the music business and “a marketing genius” was a no-brainer to Phil. Solidifying their managing partnership, the threesome used their extensive connections to reach out to artists who wanted to make their work accessible to the public and continues to keep an open door for creatives who would like to stream their projects.
“What we’re trying to do is build a platform for creators such as ourselves, independent filmmakers, independent artists…anybody that has good quality visual content; No matter where they are in the world, they can have their stuff on the network,” explained Phil Davis.
-Buzz and Growth-
Housing content from Russia to Nigeria, SkoVu Tv provides its resources to willing creatives everywhere. Delivering films, shows, plays, and documentaries across many genres, the platform is fostering a devoted viewership that assists in the continuous growth of content.
Posting free movies and shows particularly on Facebook has brought positive attention to the network. Along with implementing 7-day free trials and referral rewards last year, SkoVu Tv has increased its paid subscribership.
Charging approximately a $10 monthly subscription with access to all its content, SkoVu Tv’s app is currently available on Google Play, Amazon, and Chromecast. With the network’s increased online presence, Phil, Jimmie, and Korey have also used it to recruit producers and artists for SkoVu Tv’s original content; A major reason for the lineup in Season 2 of How I Came Up.
“I believe some people just didn’t know what was out there, so what better way to show them by interviewing people who have success in that career path…We wanted to share the truth of what it really takes to excel,” explained Korey Green.
Highlighting the lives of high-profile people like Darius Pridgen, Dennis Wilson, and Benny The Butcher among many others, How I Came Up’s success in itself is the culmination of unity. Created by Korey Green initially under his production company Black Rose Production House, the show joined SkoVu Tv as an original after the first season. With Green’s leadership and the addition of Sam Hill as the official host for Season 2 of the show, How I Came Up’s sharper focus elevates Buffalo’s most respected voices.
“I think being able to create a safe space, and just having great dialogue and going back and forth just makes for a really good show,” mentioned Sam Hill.
With a solid background in corporate career development and recently forming his own consultant firm Career Change Guru, Sam Hill’s attention to detail and general interest in career growth assisted in facilitating conversations with featured artists for the show. Most recently sitting down with DJ Khaled for a How I Came Up episode, Hill cherishes the opportunities to connect with elevated people.
“The platform has been great just because I’ve been able to talk to a lot of professionals, entrepreneurs,” explained Hill.
Preparing to release Season 3 of the hit series this coming Spring, the network’s expansion is prioritizing providing access. Recently adding originals Daddy’s Girl Club, The Blackness Project, and Kids Kovu to Amazon Prime, SkoVu Tv continues to level its exposure.
Despite the Covid pandemic, Skovu Tv’s growth in the last year has created a system for creatives in Buffalo and abroad to stay working. A true testament to their creativity and efforts, Phil Davis, Jimmie Davis, and Korey Green’s work has resulted in endless opportunities for artists.
“How organically everything has happened still blows my mind,” concluded Phil Davis.
Dropping a special Black History Month edition of How I Came Up this month, you can expect to see some of Buffalo’s brightest Black women featured, including a familiar face from The Challenger.
Be sure to download, rent and subscribe to SkoVu Tv at the website Skovutv.com.
Schondra Aytch is an independent writer blogger and culture connoisseur who hails from Buffalo Ny who covers the various topics of entertainment . Find her online blog Sneakvibing and on IG @schondraathewriter