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Viacom announced a powerful partnership with Tyler Perry Studios to launch a new streaming service called BET+ this fall. Perry’s massive content library backs the new streaming service with more than 1,000 hours of on-demand video, joined by favorites from Viacom’s other properties, like shows from MTV, Comedy Central, and VH1. Expect to see fan-favorites like Madea, plus movies, specials, and original series.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Tyler Perry is backing the new venture financially in addition to his library of popular content and serving as a creator for new programming.
BET+ will offer a mix of African-American-focused programming. As the official home of Perry’s extensive collected works across film, television and the stage the new streaming service will include the original series House of Payne and Meet the Browns. Based on the announcement, the content library should also include Real Husbands of Hollywood, The New Edition Story, The Quad, College Hill, Comic View, Hell Date, and more. New original series already in the works include Tracy Oliver's TV remake of the classic comedy First Wives Club and a new original series from Will Packer, the creative genius behind the blockbusters Ride Along and Think Like a Man.
Viacom previously pursued an advertising-friendly strategy after purchasing Pluto TV that included adding free ad-supported channels like BET, Comedy Central, and others. It appears that executives decided the audience expected for BET+ is worth the risk of adding another streaming service to the fray but remain confident that viewership can support both the free and streaming channels.
While any subscription service launching this late in the game faces the risk of adding to Flixpocalypse, BET+ is banking on a niche audience that has been underserved in the past. Executives cite market research showing that African Americans have higher SVOD adoption rates than other consumers.
The new streaming service hasn’t announced specific pricing, but reports say the service will be ad-free. Viewers will be able to access it on Android, iOS, and other common streaming devices.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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