Comcast is making good on its promise to beef up minority involvement in its cable division, though it's doing so with digital networks instead of terrestrial cable channels. It's not quite what it sounded like when, as a condition of its purchase of a majority stake in NBCUniversal (then 80 percent held by GE), Comcast agreed to create cable networks with minority leadership. Still, a channel is a channel.
The company is launching four new digital nets with headliners including Magic Johnson, Sean "Diddy" Combs and film director Robert Rodriguez, starting as soon as April. The four networks will be available on Comcast's digital basic tier, but they won't be taking the place of any existing cable channels. Instead, they'll be digital subnets, a growing sector of the cable market that is mostly occupied by public access-style programming at this point.
Johnson, whose title will be chairman, will lead Aspire, a new network with an African-American focus and inspirational programming. In a statement issued Tuesday, David Jensen, Comcast's vp of content acquistion, said that the Atlanta-based network (a partnership with GMC TV) will involve "an enduring focus on delivering quality programming that positively resonates with ethnically diverse communities."
Combs' network, Revolt, will also have an African-American focus when it debuts next year but will be more of a music and news network. Revolt will be heavily engaged with social media and already has aspirations beyond Comcast's subscriber base. In a release issued by the new network this morning, Combs said that his hope was "that this new network will spark a revolution in entertainment and encourage other media and communications companies to bring Revolt to their audiences.”
Rodriguez's network, El Rey, will focus on the Latino audience, with content created by the net's new production company, Tres Pistoleros, which will develop programming for the channel. Rodriguez's background as a director of films including and is mirrored in his vision for the channel: "The majority of the players today are doing a fantastic job serving the first generation [of Latinos in America]," Rodriguez told , "and what we want to do is serve their offspring.” The start date for El Rey is some time in 2014.
Wait a second. Does this mean what we think it means? Has a South African form of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) come to
- Empower more black people to own and manage enterprises. Enterprises are regarded as black-owned if 51% of the enterprise is owned by black people, and black people have substantial management control of the business.
- Achieve a substantial change in the racial composition of ownership and management structures and in the skilled occupations of existing and new enterprises.
- Promote access to finance for black economic empowerment.
- Empower rural and local communities by enabling their access to economic activities, land, infrastructure, ownership and skills.
- Promote human resource development of black people through, for example, mentorships, learnerships and internships.
- Increase the extent to which communities, workers, co-operatives and other collective enterprises own and manage existing and new enterprises, and increase their access to economic activities, infrastructure and skills.
- Ensure that black-owned enterprises benefit from the government's preferential procurement policies.
- Assist in the development of the operational and financial capacity of BEE enterprises, especially small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and black-owned enterprises.
- Increase the extent to which black women own and manage existing and new enterprises, and facilitate their access to economic activities, infrastructure and skills training.
Yikes. Isn’t this exactly what these networks basically represent, a form of BEE in
The Oprah Winfrey Network, the 50/50 joint venture between Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Inc. and Discovery Communications, announced last week it had secured a significant commitment from Procter & Gamble, the world's largest advertiser.
P&G, the manufacturer of dozens of household name brands like Tide, Crest, Tampax and Pampers, committed to a deal reportedly worth more than $100 million over three years. The agreement, which includes the purchase of time and integration into programming, is unprecedented in that Winfrey's network (OWN for short) will not be on the air until January 2011, does not yet have a full programming lineup and has no audience and therefore no basis for ratings, reach or demographics.
I have a dream that this all ends. Only conservative white people believe in a color-blind society, and actually try and practice the false rhetoric of MLK, a man who represents the greatest fraud in world history.