A story in the New York Times says that Viacom, which owns BET and MTV, is forming a new cable channel for middle-aged African-Americans, that they'll call Centric. They'll make the announcement today.
It's set to debut in October, and BET execs says it's meant to complement BET by appealing to an older and more affluent audience.
According to the article, as Viacom execs considered the 25-54-year-old target for Centric, it realized that "a perfect example would be" Barack and Michelle Obama, said Scott Mills, the president of BET.
BET wouldn't say if BET J, it's smaller music-oriented offshoot, would be affected by Centric. But which, of course, means it will.
Doug Creutz, an analyst for Cowen & company, said the African-American adult audience had “been underserved,” and pointed to the series of successful movies by Tyler Perry as evidence that “there’s money to be made at targeting that audience.”
Lots of interesting stuff in this announcement:
1. What does this mean for TV One, which is pretty much going after this audience too? The article says that BET is in 89 million homes (since its on basic cable), roughly four times as many viewers as TV One, which is in about 47 million homes.
2. What does this mean for Bob Johnson's new project Urban Television and the objections to that project by TV One? You might remember that TV One was against Bob Johnson's project on the basis that the method that Johnson was using to get his channel on the air could force cable systems to drop TV One. Viacom has big guns behind it; it says that it would be able to assemble 45 million homes on the crowded cable lineups for the premiere of Centric. Could this move bring Bob Johnson and TV One together?
3. Did nobody know there were affluent blacks until the Obamas came along?
4. Are Tyler Perry movies really an example of what affluent, middle-aged blacks want to see?