Comcast Cable today announced the company is now accepting proposals for two substantially African American owned, independent networks that it will launch in select Comcast markets by January 2019.
Today’s announcement is part of the company’s commitment to launch independently owned and operated networks as part of a series of public interest commitments made by Comcast in connection with the NBCUniversal transaction completed in 2011. Since the NBCUniversal transaction, Comcast has successfully launched over 20 independent networks, doubling the number of independent network launches that it committed to as part of the transaction. Four of those networks were launched as a result of a public request for channels that satisfied the criteria established in several agreements between Comcast and leading diversity organizations: two African American majority owned networks (ASPiRE, owned by Magic Johnson Enterprises; and REVOLT, owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs), and two Hispanic American operated networks (Baby First Americas and El Rey). Additionally, two substantially Hispanic American owned networks, Kids Central and Primo TV, will launch on Comcast Cable systems beginning in January 2017.
“We are looking forward to receiving another round of great proposals as we begin the process to launch two more African American majority owned networks,” said Justin Smith, Senior Vice President of Content Acquisition for Comcast Cable.
Criteria for selecting the next two substantially African American owned networks that Comcast will launch include: the content of the network; whether the network is fully financed; whether the network’s ownership and/or management group(s) are well established, have relevant experience, and are substantially owned by African Americans; whether the network is already launched and has existing or potential multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) distribution; price; and whether the network and its potential carriage provide value to Comcast and its customers. Comcast will accept proposals for every major genre, including general entertainment, movies, music, kids, news, and sports.
Applicants may visit http://corporate.comcast.com/diverseprogramming to submit a proposal and learn about the terms and conditions. Proposals are due by March 15, 2017, and the two networks will be selected in the coming months.
Given the criteria, it’ll be a challenge (but not entirely impossible) for the average person with a proposal to be considered for this. But interested people have about 3 months to assemble a team of qualified professionals as well as some financing, to start, in order to meet the basic requirements. But Magic Johnson and Diddy haven’t done much with their own Comcast networks (ASPiRE and REVOLT) – at least, not enough to separate themselves and actually matter, so let’s hope the next 2 black-owned networks Comcast launches have more of an overall impact.