uploads///Video Service

Viacom Launching African-American Subscription Video Service

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Jun. 24 2019, Updated 12:19 p.m. ET

Viacom sees untapped demand

Viacom (VIAB) seems to have quietly added itself to the roster of companies gearing up to launch subscription video services in the fall. The Wall Street Journal reports Viacom is preparing to launch a new video streaming service targeting African-American audiences, where Viacom sees untapped demand. The service, BET Plus, is set to be launched under Viacom’s BET Networks division.

Walt Disney (DIS), AT&T (T), and Apple are also preparing to launch new subscription video services in the fall. Comcast (CMCSA) is preparing to join the fray next year as well, but with an ad-supported video service.

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Viacom expanding video streaming business

Viacom has partnered with actor Tyler Perry and his production house, Tyler Perry Studios, to launch BET Plus, which is set to offer original programming from Perry’s studio and Viacom’s other networks.

Although Viacom has not gone public about the planned BET Plus subscription video service, it announced last Thursday that Perry had begun work on The Oval, an original drama series for BET Networks.

BET Plus will add to Viacom’s other video streaming services, a list that includes Pluto TV, a service it bought earlier this year. Pluto TV is supported by advertising.

Viacom not seeking to upset Netflix

Viacom appears to have been avoiding an aggressive confrontation with Netflix (NFLX), one of its digital content customers. Viacom looks so keen to preserve its relationship with Netflix that its upcoming BET Plus service will not be promoted as a replacement for Netflix or Hulu, according to The Wall Street Journal. Viacom’s revenue fell 6.0% year-over-year to $3.0 billion in the March quarter.

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