With PopViewers, Chris Witherspoon is bringing power and community to media consumers
PopViewers is ultimately shifting how we engage with content online.
“I began to ask, where is there a one-stop-shop for TV & film reaction, commentary, and discussion? Where is that community?” This was the initial question Chris Witherspoon asked himself when he started to develop PopViewers, a new Black-owned app that aims to bring power and community to the every day media consumer.
Witherspoon, the company’s founder and CEO, is a successful entertainment journalist, a proud gay person of color, and a media consumer himself. Having served as an entertainment correspondent for CNN, Fandango, and Entertainment Editor for theGrio, Witherspoon is now diving into the world of tech.
His goal? To build an app that will guide the consumer in finding content that’s right for them while also creating a community around the media we take in. “There’s just no entertainment social network,” Witherspoon tells theGrio. “I want to democratize the voices of those who watch, consume, and pay for all of this entertainment. It empowers them to pull up a chair at that table.”
PopViewers “provides an engaged, dynamic landing spot for fans” and allows them to connect and critique all of their favorite TV shows and films. This entertainment technology helps guide viewers to what they should watch, thus eliminating that hair-pulling wasted time of scrolling and desperately trying to find something new to watch on streaming services.
With user-generated content scores and reaction videos, PopViewers is ultimately shifting how we engage with content online.
However, the path taken to launching PopViewers was not an easy one for Witherspoon. He was aware that raising funding in a pandemic would be difficult, especially as a Black entrepreneur. But above all, he was determined.
“As a Black man working in the media space for so many years, it could be very intimidating at times,” he shared with theGrio. “People like me don’t often get the opportunity to bring these opportunities to life, and that’s also apparent in the tech space.”
Witherspoon shared that in tech, “only 3% of investment partners are Black, and just 1% of venture-backed startups have a Black founder,” making PopViewers, a bit of an anomaly, but a fascinating one at that.
“I believe that by letting the viewers pull up, and by making space for those watching, we can change the face of Hollywood forever.” And if the initial reaction is any indication, Witherspoon’s change will undoubtedly come.
PopViewers is already generating massive buzz. Witherspoon and PopViewers were recently highlighted in Forbes, and the app is already available to download for iPhone users.
With an app like this, Witherspoon believes, there can be some real shifts in Hollywood and the way that stories are told to audiences. “Our community makes ripple effects in Hollywood. The content that we watch should reflect who the viewer is, it should reflect the nuances of the audiences that are watching. I do think Hollywood is getting there, but I think with this app and this community, maybe they can get a little bit better at it.”
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