Online platform wants to be a gay Netflix
by David-Elijah Nahmod
"Dekkoo is an online network, a gay Netflix," Chief Operating Officer Brian Sokel tells the Bay Area Reporter. "It's a streaming subscription platform for gay men. Our focus is gay movies, gay series and original content."
Sokel noted the current dearth of gay programming on Logo, the Showtime-owned gay network that launched on cable amid much fanfare in 2005. Though RuPaul's Drag Race remains Logo's flagship show, much of their current schedule includes classic sitcoms like Bewitched, Green Acres, The Facts of Life, and All in the Family. Sokel feels that there's a considerable difference between mainstream shows that appeal to gay men and actual gay programs.
"We saw a vacuum," he explains. Dekkoo will be targeting a gay male demographic exclusively. "We want to focus on the G, and give it the attention it deserves," he said. "But every letter in the acronym [LGBTQ] deserves its own home. There's always an audience for every kind of content, if someone dreams it will be."
"The word Dekkoo is derived from Hindi," Sokel said. "It means 'Take a look.'"
He said he was particularly excited about Love Is Blind, a dating/reality show that Dekkoo plans to roll out in February, just in time for Valentine's Day.
"We've produced seven episodes," Sokel said. "We set up singles in New York City to go out on blind dates. They do different type of activities: drinks, body painting, other activities. Sometimes they turn each other on, sometimes they turn on each other!"
Sokel promises that there's some good comedy to be found on the dates that go sour. "But the guys are really looking for someone special," he said. "Just to see their unique experiences is fun and lighthearted." Two of the dates resulted in the guys becoming real-life couples.
Dekkoo has other shows in the works. Currently the network is in pre-production with a stand-up comedy show. Sokel also mentioned an upcoming "dramedy" (comedy-drama) about a young gay Asian man moving to a new city and dealing with fitting in. "We're trying to find up-and-coming talent," he said. "I want to give voices to young filmmakers."
In addition to their original content, Dekkoo also offers a wide variety of gay independent feature films. Still in its early stages, Dekkoo is currently building its subscription base. It's available on Amazon Prime as an add-on to your monthly fee. Dekkoo can also be accessed through the Apple Store, Google Play, Roku, Android TV, and Samsung Smart TV.
Sokel feels that platforms like Dekkoo can be helpful in fighting the incoming anti-gay Trump administration. The president-elect has appointed a Who's Who of racists and homophobes to his cabinet, most notably white supremacist Steve Bannon and vice-president-elect Mike Pence, who supports conversion therapy and opposes LGBT equality laws.
"The best kind of resistance is presence," Sokel said. "Defiance through presence."