BET founder launching UMC

Robert L Johnson, who founded US cable channel Black Entertainment Television (BET) back in 1980 – and sold it to MTV/Viacom in 2001 – is getting back into broadcasting. His RLJ Entertainment is launching the Urban Movie Channel (UMC) into the US market.

Johnson says UMC will offer a portfolio of more than 150 titles including movies, drama, factual and stage plays, and kicks off on November 14th with an exclusive movie premiere, ‘Love the One You’re With’.

“As founder of BET, I have gained a deep understanding and knowledge about the African-American and urban consumer and the entertainment content that appeals to them,” said Johnson. “UMC was designed so that the African-American and urban creative community could directly reach consumers in a way that removes many of the restrictions associated with the legacy content development and distribution models. As more video is consumed over broadband, we believe that we can quickly become the preeminent provider of quality urban entertainment to what has largely been an under-served, yet highly-engaged audience.”

UMC will kick off with a free viewing period until Feb. 4, after which it will offer an introductory price of $2.99/month, or $29.99 a year. The follow-on price will be $4.99/month or $49.99/year.

Johnson’s original product, BET, has a massive 91 million distribution throughout the US. BET is available on BSkyB.

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