This seems to be the year for new TV networks aimed at the African-American audience. Recently came the announcement of the debut of Bounce TV. Now there is Punch TV Network, a new African-American TV network on DirecTV.
Launching this summer, the network is 90 percent African-American owned. Although the network will target black Americans, the programming is expected to attract multicultural audiences. According to spokesperson Rachel Ramos, the network’s programming is exactly what will make it stand out from its competition, including BET, TV One and Bounce. “Punch TV has retracted a lot of programming that has never been seen before. The network is also producing its own original programming. Punch TV was conceived as an entertainment entity that blends the many flavors of America into a set of multicultural, multi-ethnic dramas, comedies, talk shows, reality shows, newscasts, and other genres of television entertainment,” she explains. The programming will be family-based for all ages, while BET target the 18-30 demographic and TV One caters to the 30 plus age group.
On the Punch TV lineup is a late night show, hosted by Damien Hall (formerly of the New Jack Swing music group Guy); a talk show starring actress Sheryl Lee Ralph; “Get Thee Behind Me,” an original secular drama with faith-based messages that strategically integrates comedy. In addition, Punch TV has acquired rights to a never-before-seen documentary about the life and death of Michael Jackson.
Ramos is confident that Punch TV will be a success. “Punch is, in many respects, a marketer’s dream. With 90 percent African-American ownership, Punch TV was conceived as a vehicle to address the unmet entertainment needs of the country’s 41+ million African- Americans. African-Americans have a Gross Domestic Product of nearly $1.1 trillion. This level of national income exceeds that of countries such as Mexico, South Korea and many others,” she says. “Punch TV targets its audiences based upon psychographics and not merely demographics. While it’s definitely an African-American network that uses research-driven approaches to target African-American audiences, Punch TV was also designed to deliver entertainment to multicultural audiences. Rather than complaining each season about a perceived failure of mainstream television producers to offer diverse programming, Punch TV was born as an entertainment island that displays the racial/ethnic, age, gender, socioeconomic, religious and other forms of diversity of America.”