Whitman Voices


Featured Alumni Entrepreneur: Joe Bednar ’97 VPA, ’00 MBA, ’00 MS WHIT/NEW

Featured Alumni Entrepreneur: Joe Bednar ’97 VPA, ’00 MBA, ’00 MS WHIT/NEW

JoeBednar-HeadshotIt is no secret that the nightlife industry has been impacted heavily by the proliferation of mobile socialization technologies. LGBT venues, in particular, have been affected. Their historic nature as “safe spaces” for the LGBT community to peacefully and confidently meet, socialize and date is being compromised. Facing economic pressure, venue owners are always looking to cut costs while providing increased entertainment value to their patrons.

Four years ago, I learned of a European music video entertainment platform, which was being sold in the United States on a subscription basis. The subscription model was failing, yet the hardware, software, content and applications were best of breed. After connecting with the platform’s regional sales representative, I pitched him on the opportunity to build a brand new business on an advertising model.

Bednar-POWERVJ_logo-tagPowerVJ is a unique network, reinventing music TV in LGBT nightlife. We address venue owner needs by providing them with a no-cost, high-impact entertainment and promotional solution supported by advertising, which is part of the entertainment itself. LGBT patrons enjoy being addressed by national brands in a positive, often humorous, light. Such advertising empowers viewers and garners brands sales and loyalty. All full-screen motion advertising is silent so patrons enjoy non-stop music during their visits.

In addition to their customers watching actual TVs with over 40,000 music video tracks, including popular new releases and historic chart toppers, venue owners are delighted with the tools included to promote their establishments and events. Promotional features of our platform include on-screen branding, scrolling tickertapes and rotating image galleries. Since the venue owners and management build their own shuffled playlists from PowerVJ’s vast library, no two venues are ever playing the same song simultaneously.

I began my journey as an authentic, out entrepreneur with my senior thesis film, “Under One Sun,” which documented gay marriage in Hawaii and won a NATAS Student Emmy Award. I continued with my graduate capstone project for both the Whitman School of Management and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I was selected to attend the three-week Couri Foundation Summer MBA program in Jackman, Maine, sponsored by notable Whitman alumnus John Couri. From there, I wrote a business plan for the first LGBT cable TV network. Shortly after completing the business plan, however, Viacom launched the LOGO network. Nonetheless, competition did not defeat my fire to entertain the LGBT market. Staying true to my vision, I am now making it happen over 15 years later with PowerVJ.

Whitman alumni are welcome to contact PowerVJ, www.powervj.com, to learn how we can help them effectively target the LGBT market without alienating the mainstream. With hundreds of thousands of unique patrons and millions of opportunities to see targeted video messages, our value is one of a kind. Now playing in our exclusive network of LGBT bars and nightclubs, patrons are engaged and receptive. PowerVJ is the sure-fire way to extend your relationship with them.

Joe Bednar