Comcast will add two new African-American independent networks to its lineup in January.
AFRO and CLEO TV are expected to provide quality entertainment that highlights and features TV and movies about African-American and Black communities.
“We remain committed to delivering a wide array of programming by partnering with independent networks, such as the two we’re announcing today, to better serve our increasingly diverse customer base,” said Keesha Boyd, executive director of Multicultural Products at Comcast Cable, in a statement.
AFRO, a channel from Afrotainment, is a 24-hour polycultural Black network mainly broadcasting top-rated Nollywood and Black movies, dramas, sitcoms, music, talk and late night comedy shows.
CLEO TV is a lifestyle and entertainment network targeting Millennial and Gen X women of color. Derived from the name Cleopatra, one of the most powerful women in history, CLEO TV will offer quality content that defies negative and cultural stereotypes of today’s modern women. The network will offer short-form and long-form content including travel, home design, cooking, talk shows, movies, docu-series and sitcoms.
“We’re at a pivotal moment in history where women are making a huge impact in our society and culture, especially women of color,” said Michelle Rice, TV One’s general manager.
“CLEO TV will offer a diverse mix of lifestyle and entertainment content through the unique lens of Millennial and young Gen-X women of color, an audience segment that is currently underserved. CLEO TV will leverage the comprehensive media platform of our parent company Urban One, Inc. which includes digital, television and radio divisions that will each play an integral role in bringing this new network to the marketplace. We are grateful to Comcast for the tremendous opportunity to elevate new voices in our industry.”
Comcast reviewed dozens of proposals before it selected AFRO and CLEO TV. The main criteria Comcast considered were: 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 distribution; price; and whether the network and its potential carriage provide value to Comcast and its customers.
In 2011, as part of Comcast’s commitments made in connection with the NBCUniversal transaction, Comcast agreed to launch 10 new independently owned and operated networks by 2019, including eight that are minority-owned or -operated.
Six minority-owned networks already have launched, including BabyFirst Americas, Kids Central and Primo TV, which are primarily Hispanic American owned and operated; and ASPiRE and REVOLT, which are majority African American owned.