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AOC’s digital gurus launch ‘post-capitalist’ streaming site

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 9, 2020 - Duration: 03:15s

AOC’s digital gurus launch ‘post-capitalist’ streaming site

The Detroit-based filmmakers behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s viral campaign ad have created Means TV, which they describe as the world’s first “post capitalist” streaming service.

Vanessa Johnston reports.

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AOC’s digital gurus launch ‘post-capitalist’ streaming site

It's the brainchild of Detroit couple Naomi Burton and Nick Hayes: A streaming service called Means TV - launched last week - that is entirely funded by subscribers.

SOUNDBITE: "It's the first post-capitalist, worker-owned streaming site…" Subscribers pay 10 dollars a month to access a host of shows, documentaries and cartoons - all aimed at elevating stories about the working class……and exploring progressive ideas.

[COMEDY SHOW CLIP] "You know, we have a great animated series that's kid friendly called 'Wrinkles and Sprinkles' and it's about two cats who, you know, are realizing more and more that their owner actually is taking the majority of - of the resources in the house, and that they actually deserve a lot more…" EXCERPT OF "WRINKLES AND SPRINKLES" But Means TV faces tough competition from other streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu.

"Our proposition to people is: Don't you want entertainment that's created democratically and that is focused not on perpetuating the same culture we have of capitalism but about exploring new ideas and different things?" The Means TV co-founders say their Detroit neighborhood is a constant source of inspiration.

Burton: "Detroit is really a Canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country as far as what happens to working class people under capitalism." Nearby is the Packard Automotive Plant - once a thriving car company - now a symbol of the city's decline.

While Burton and Hayes call themselves democratic socialists today, that wasn't always the case.

Burton, now 30, spent her early career working in PR for Fortune 500 companies.

Hayes, now 22, produced commercial films. But the results of the 2016 presidential election - and their introduction to Senator Bernie Sanders - made them rethink their path entirely.

They quit their jobs and started a production company.

One of their first gigs: producing the campaign ad for a little-known U.S. House candidate from the Bronx: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

[CAMPAIGN AD EXCERPT] Now, the launch of Means TV comes as Michigan prepares to vote in the presidential primary on Tuesday.

Burton and Hayes are rooting for Sanders, who will face off against former Vice President Joe Biden.

But even if Sanders doesn't ultimately clinch the Democratic nomination, they hope his campaign platform - focused on inequality - can continue to gain traction through Means TV… Burton: "I think he would love it.

I hope he would love it…he's the reason that we believe that we could do any of this." One week after their launch, Means TV had 2500 subscribers.

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