It is undeniable that BET is the primary cable network targeted to African Americans with their mission, vision and values geared towards that demographic. With the lack of original television shows, music videos and even talk series, BET is still looked at as the main vessel for Black entertainment television. Since we constantly complain about the programming, are we ready for a new Black television network?
In a joint partnership, Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III, plans to launch a new over-the-air television network aimed at Black audiences this fall. According to reports, Bounce TV, a new broadcast network geared toward African-American viewers, will debut on September 26, the network announced Tuesday.
Based out of Atlanta, Bounce TV is currently trying to line up distribution through the digital signals of local television stations. The upcoming station has plans to broadcast a mix of theatrical movies, live sports, inspirational faith-based programs and original programming.
Bounce TV will air 24 hours a day, seven days a week as a digital network designed for carriage on the digital signals of local television stations. The programming is said to be aimed toward the demographic age of 25 to 54, like it’s competitors Centric and TV One.
“My father envisioned the day that African Americans would play major roles in entertainment within ownership, not just serve as entertainers on the stage or in front of the cameras. That’s what makes this even more exciting to me as we embark on this new endeavor of an independently owned and operated broadcast television network featuring African Americans.”
Despite how Blacks have been portrayed in the media, the representation of quality programming targeting Blacks is low. That’s a given. Many of our favorite radio stations, magazines and networks are owned by large White owned networks and production companies. With the lack of Black independently owned and operated networks there is no surprise the Black voice becomes diluted or non-existence.
Most television programming that feature minorities simply do not make it, yet most shows depicting a more diverse cast doesn’t seem to last long either. Does this have to do with a connection to the lack of Black adequate actors? Not even. There are plenty Black actors available and willing to work. However, someone networks are not willing to donate the time, tools and resources to marketing and promoting these types of programming.
There is a high demand for African Americans wondering where they can spend time watching television. Nielsen recently reported that African Americans have the highest TV-watching rate in comparison to other ethnicities. That average is 7 hours 12 minutes each day—above the national average of 5 hours 11 minutes. Seems we are watching television but what are we actually watching?
Again, there aren’t many platforms to encourage affirmative dialogue for Blacks. We can be so quick to condemn our own platforms without offering any constructive suggestions or even giving them a chance. So, maybe a new network won’t hurt? We can only be hopeful.
What do you think of the new network? Are we really expecting Bounce TV to be our savior of Black networks?