FilmRise Acquires Streaming Rights to Over 200 Hours of Content from National Black Television Media’s Library
FilmRise didn’t get its reputation as one of the top distributors of free ad-supported streaming content by resting on its laurels. The company is making new additions all the time and has now acquired the exclusive rights to over 200 hours of content from National Black Television Media’s catalog.
The rights include 331 TV episodes across 14 series, including “Arnold’s Caribbean Pizza,” “Love That Girl,” and “Talk It Up,” among others. The deal also includes three movies — “Cop and a Badman,” “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and “Rude Boy The Jamaican Don.” These titles will be distributed as on-demand content, and via free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels.
“This deal with National Black Television Media significantly adds to our free offering of Black-led content,” FilmRise’s SVP of acquisitions and co-productions Max Einhorn said. “We are excited to add this programming to our diverse library of content, especially featuring it on FilmRise Black TV and associated branded FAST channel, which offers the widest library of free content for African-American audiences.”
There is no word yet on when users can expect FilmRise to begin distributing this new content, but the additions will help bolster the number of FAST channels dedicated to content led by Black performers and marketed to Black audiences. There is a current dearth of such channels; the percentage of total domestic FAST channels focused on Black content has been steady at around 2% of the total market.
Considering that 60% of Black consumers watch Black-focused content on a weekly basis, that leaves the community severely underserved. Other companies are beginning to add more meaningfully to the Black FAST space as well, including the For Us By Us Network launching soon from Cinedigm and FUBU. These additions will help alleviate the problem Black audiences often face in finding content made specifically for them, but there’s still a long way to go.
Those efforts may be aided by BET Media Group, if Paramount decides to sell it. Paramount Global is listening to offers for BET, BET+, and VH1, and several Black business leaders and media figures have signaled their interest, including hip hop megastar Sean “Diddy” Combs, multi-hyphenate mogul Tyler Perry and TV magnate Byron Allen. BET could become a leader in offering Black-focused FAST content if that fits with its new leader’s vision.
The acquisition of 200-plus hours of content from National Black Television Media is not the only big move announced by FilmRise recently. This week, the company launched a new free streaming app called FilmRise For Her, dedicated to content specifically geared for female audiences.