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Black History Comes Alive On Demand

2/08/2010 11:08 AM Eastern

 More than two dozen cable networks and MSOs are teaming up to provide an extensive lineup of on-demand programming throughout February in recognition of Black History Month.

Spearheaded by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, the first-ever Black History Month on-demand initiative will offer up to 100 hours of African-American themed programming to cable subscribers, according to organization officials.

Participating operators include Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Cox Communications, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications and Time Warner Cable, while programming is being provided by such networks as A&E Network, BET, Big Ten Network, CNN, Food Network, HBO, HGTV, History, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, Logo, MTV, National Geographic Channel, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Spike TV, Starz, Sundance Channel, TCM, Travel Channel and VH1. Movie studios Universal Studios and Warner Bros. are also contributing content, according to CTAM.

As part of the on-demand offering, viewers can access movies, music, biographies, documentaries, news and television series under the umbrella headers “Black Experience” or “Black History,” via their cable VOD menus.

With many operators having offered some form of on-demand Black History Month programming in the past, MTV Networks/BET Networks vice president of content distribution and marketing Ashley Culp said the initiative provided an opportunity for the industry to pool resources and deliver quality on demand product to consumers.

“We felt it would be a great opportunity to pull together a wealth of content from all different types of entertainment, film, music and documentaries,” he said. “With programming from Nickelodeon to BET to Food Network, we can really tell a story and provide some great content for our customers.”

Comcast will offer African-American-themed on-demand content beyond Black History Month with the launch of a monthly movie-based service.

Each month, Black Cinema On Demand will feature new titles that focus on the wide range of African-American experiences, accomplishments and culture through film. The package launches this month which such movies as Do the Right Thing, Antwone Fisher, Brown Sugar, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Malcolm X, Ray, The Best Man, The Color Purple and Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself.

“The African-American community has played a vital role in our nation’s history and made significant contributions to our entertainment and music and we are delighted to bring this content to the thousands of communities we serve every day,” said Comcast vice president of strategic initiatives Payne Brown.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAMMING
Black History Month-themed original shows premiering in February:

SOURCE: Multichannel News research
Feb. 11
Showtime: Tony Roberts: Wired (comedy special)
Feb. 14
Documentary Channel: The Visitors (documentary)
Feb. 15
Spike: Facing Ali (documentary)
Feb. 18
Centric: Model City (series)
Showtime: Big Les: Problem Child (comedy special)
Feb. 21
Documentary Channel: Beyond The Steps (documentary)
Gospel Music Channel: A Love Song for Haiti: The Making of 'Are You Listening’ (special)
Gospel Music Channel: BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards (music special)
BET: The Family Crews (series)
Lifetime Movie Network: Sins of the Mother (movie)
Feb. 28
Gospel Music Channel: Stellar Awards (music special)
Interstitial Programming
TV One: “Way Black When,” a series of short-form interviews with industry experts discussing African-American TV and movies interspersed within the network’s airing of classic African-American-themed movies and TV shows.
Lifetime: Short clips featuring African-American actresses discussing their personal journey of what it was like to grow up black in the U.S. and how it has shaped who they are today, as well as how each of these actresses seeks to influence the next generation of young African-American women.
Nickelodeon Networks: Multiplatform series of short-form interstitials that showcases poetry about inspirational African-Americans written by teens.

September