26 Oct Byron Allen Acquires HBCUGo.TV, Streaming Service for Historically Black Colleges
By Jon Lafayette
Deal brings Allen Media Group additional reach among African-American viewers
Allen has been creating a growing media empire, buying up The Weather Channel and a chain of local television stations. This acquisition bolsters the company’s reach into African-American audiences. Allen Media Group recently launched theGrio.TV as an over-the-air network.
HBCUGo.TV this year made a deal with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to televise 44 games during the current football season and will air men’s and women’s basketball games.
Allen Media Group also acquired a library of more than 5,000 hours of content in the HBCUGo.TV library, featuring HBCU students and alumni.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The HBCU brand represents over 184 years of historic excellence, dating back to 1837, which helped cultivate some of the world’s greatest minds and talent, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Alice Walker, Samuel L. Jackson, Earl Graves, Oprah Winfrey, Chadwick Boseman, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Common, Booker T. Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Judge Kevin Ross, Langston Hughes, Katherine Johnson, Kenya Barris, and Vice President Kamala Harris, to name a few,” Allen, the founder, chairman and CEO of Allen Media Group, said in a statement.
“HBCUGo.TV positions us to speak to the heart and soul of Black America 24/7, and helps us stay strongly connected with one of the most valuable, untapped audiences in the world,” Allen said.
Cable executives Curtis Symonds, Clint Evans and Candace Walker in 2010 originally announced plans to start up the HBCU Network as a basic cable network featuring sports content. The schools were initially expected to have a 20% interest in the networks. Symonds pitched Comcast on adding the network as part of a commitment to launch minority-owned or targeted channels after buying NBCUniversal, but Comcast didn’t add HBCU TV so the network instead launched as a digital platform.
Symonds launched the HBCU Go app in 2019 as a companion to HBCU TV.
Allen Media said the current HBCUGo.TV management teams will continue to manage the HBCUGo.TV platform. The group has strong ties to the schools and sports conference commissioners that the service will want to continue.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group and his vision to make HBCUGo.TV the ultimate destination celebrating the excellence of HBCUs and their alumni,” HBCUGo.TV CEO Symonds said. “Our pioneer platform offers a global audience all aspects of the HBCU culture and positions the millions of brilliant young minds and alumni throughout the HBCU universe to help change the world for the greater good.”