Last week, Lit604.com reported that media tycoons Tyler Perry and Byron Allen are interested in purchasing Black Entertainment Television, which would return to Black ownership after a protracted absence. Nonetheless, new names have also focused on ownership.
The New York Times reports that Group Black is in negotiations to buy the network. The Miami-based media company is collaborating with Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners, a private equity group that manages more than $100 billion in assets. CEO Travis Montaque is attempting to form partnerships with prominent Black businesses and artists in order to become the front-runner in the competition. Its offer is unknown. Group Black is an established name on BET. Via agreements with agencies, the business has spent more than $500 million on advertising on BET’s sites during the past two years. With such hefty contracts, it is not surprising that the business most recently made a $400 million offer to buy VICE Media, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This investigation into BET’s ownership might be seen as a reenergized effort to promote Black-owned and controlled media firms. BET and networks alike have been losing traditional TV viewers as a result of streaming services over the years, with BET’s average daily audience dropping by around 20% over 20 years. Without taking into account the streaming service, BET+, or the network’s studio division, its yearly earnings decreased to $205 million from $319 million in 2013 last year.
There is a desire for independence and a connection to the Black audience, thus Group Black, Perry, and Allen are attempting to get things back on track. Companies are sick of deferring to white people, according to Lauren Williams, who founded the organization Capital B. under the supervision of Black journalists.
“There’s real interest in having the independence to do the things that you want to do for your community and not having to answer to white people to do that,” Williams said. “Black ownership is important in commercial enterprises because Black people should be profiting from Black products.”
The three parties are currently in preliminary discussions. It’s possible that Paramount won’t proceed with the sale of BET. – Steve Sijenyi