US Media Groups Team For New African-American Cable Channel

14 January 2003

America’s Radio One plans to launch a new cable-TV channel targeting African-Americans in conjunction with the nation’s largest cable operator Comcast.

Radio One – which owns 66 radio stations in 22 cities – will manage the new venture and become majority owner, stumping up $70 million (€66m; £44m). Comcast is investing $20m, while a further $40m will be sought from external investors.

Slated for launch in the next few months, the as yet unbranded channel will broadcast news, opinion and sports aimed at African-Americans aged 25 to 54. It expects to benefit from Comcast’s substantial coverage of 21 million homes across twenty-one of the 25 leading markets in which 50% of the African-American population lives.

The new channel could become the first real competition for Viacom’s Black Entertainment Television, which has come under fire lately for scrapping some of its news and public affairs programs.

It plans to differentiate itself from BET by targeting older viewers and broadcasting more non-music shows. The channel will commission its own programming and bring in content from external sources.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff