TV as we know it now may change forever. The nation’s first-ever, over-the-air broadcast television network designed exclusively for African-American audiences will launch this fall. The new network, Bounce TV (http://bouncetv.com), will target African-Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sporting events, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-net series, original programming and more.
“In the 1970’s/80’s, the word “Bounce” was a hip way that we used to describe “how” we were going somewhere with energy. “Can you Bounce over here?” or “Let’s Bounce to the mall.” As a brand we will shape it to reflect our audience: Vibrant, positive, inspirational and energetic, “ explains Ryan Glover, Executive Vice President, Bounce TV.
Airing 24 hours a day, Bounce TV will be a digital terrestrial network designed for carriage on the digital signals of local television stations. The new network recently acquired the television rights to nearly 400 African American-skewing motion pictures in four individual, multi-year licensing agreements with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution for nearly 200 titles. Bounce TV will also air as part of the agreement: Jamie Foxx’s 2004 Academy Award-winning performance as Ray Charles in Ray; Denzel Washington’s Academy Award-nominated role in The Hurricane; The Bone Collector; Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues; The Nutty Professor I and II, starring Eddie Murphy; among other feature films.
The network also inked a deal with Sony Pictures Television for nearly 100 titles, including Devil in a Blue Dress; Ali; Director John Singleton’s Boyz ‘n The Hood. Bounce will pick up nearly 50 movies and documentaries from Codeblack Entertainment, a global new media & entertainment content company focused on connecting with diverse African-American and urban audiences, as well as another 50 titles from Image Entertainment, an integrated home entertainment company. Live sports and events will be part of the Bounce TV schedule and the network today announced a multi-year rights agreement with Urban Sports Entertainment Group (USEG) to televise both football and basketball games from the nation’s largest African- American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA.)
According to Glover, it is the perfect time to diversify the airwaves. “First, there are nearly 13 million Hispanic television households that are served by dozens of Spanish and Spanish-language versions of networks. Yet, the more than 14 million African-American TV households have just a few dedicated cable channels – and no over-the-air networks – until now with Bounce TV coming this fall,” he points out. “Second, local broadcast stations have new and unused bandwidth they need to fill for their over-the-air digital signals. So we believe that Bounce TV provides a solution to two different problems: it fills the void for an over-the-air, 24/7 television network exclusively for African-Americans, and it fills the need for digital programming for local broadcasters.”
Bounce TV is majority owned and operated by African-Americans. “The vast majority of our ownership is African-American, many of whom are very influential,” says Glover. “Examples include Ambassador Andrew Young, Andrew “Bo” Young III, Rob Hardy, Will Packer and myself. And, of course, we are extremely proud that Martin Luther King III is one of our board members and has committed to be regularly involved.”
The network is leveraging the marketing, digital, post production and operational resources of Atlanta-based CSE, one of the country’s leading independently-owned sports, entertainment and television production agencies. Bounce TV will be an ad-supported network with half of that time being available for insertion of local advertising by affiliates. Glover is more than optimistic about Madison Avenue responding positively to Bounce, noting its ad potential. “Given our unique positioning and strategic, top-shelf African-American programming, we are receiving a very positive initial reaction. We believe there exists no better media-value to talk to our target consumers,” he says.