BET may not be on the market for very long according to a report from Deadline. It was reported on Monday that Paramount was looking to sell its majority share in BET Media Group. Today, Deadline is reporting that Byron Allen — the billionaire owner of Allen Media Group — is one of two major figures interested in buying the network and its streaming cohort BET+ from Paramount.
“Byron Allen is interested in buying BET, and he will be pursuing the acquisition of the network,” a spokesman for the Allen Media Group said in a statement. Allen’s company owns the free news streaming service Local Now, and is no stranger to the TV and streaming business, so a purchase of BET would be a logical fit.
It sounds as if Allen will have competition, however. Actor, director, producer, and BET+ co-owner Tyler Perry is also interested in making a bid for the network, according to Deadline. BET+ was launched as a collaboration between Perry and Paramount; the ubiquitous creator also has a content development deal with the company to create shows for the linear BET network. Clearly, the two sides enjoy a good working relationship, and Perry’s familiarity with Paramount might give him a leg up in negotiations.
Paramount is looking to raise cash from the sale as it focuses on peaking its streaming losses in 2023 and pivoting toward profitability in 2024. Many Paramount investors think that the premium cable channel Showtime and its streaming service would also prove to be a lucrative sale for the company, but Paramount thinks it can make more money in the long run by merging Showtime with Paramount+ instead.
It’s still early in the process, and more suitors for BET could certainly emerge. But Allen has to be taken quite seriously as a potential buyer, as he has the assets to make a purchase quickly if things come together with Paramount. Allen submitted a bid to purchase the Denver Broncos in 2022, so it’s clear that he’s serious about making major acquisitions that he thinks are a good investment.
Whoever ends up owning BET in the future, they’ll have an opportunity to increase the number of free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels featuring content made specifically for Black audiences. There are thousands of FAST channels available in the United States, but only 2% of them focus on Black content. BET+ does not currently house any free live TV channels, but that could change under new ownership.
Deals are in the air in the media world right now, as some companies rise and others fall. Disney is open to selling off its majority stake in Hulu, and Fox is reportedly looking to make a major acquisition or two. BET and BET+ could be sold quite quickly, if potential partners keep emerging at this rate.
BET+ is an online streaming service from BET Networks, launched as a joint venture with Tyler Perry Studios. As one of the largest online subscription video-on-demand services focused on the Black audience and lovers of Black culture, BET+ features more than 1,000 hours of premium content including new, exclusive programming, iconic TV series, movie favorites, as well as documentaries, and specials from BET Networks. BET+ offers original programming from Tyler Perry, including his plays, series, and box office hits.
BET+ can be added as an Amazon Prime Video channel if you’d like to simplify your streaming.