Viacom is continuing its push into subscription video-on-demand products with a joint venture between its subsidiary BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios, the companies announced Monday.
The streaming video service, called BET+, will premiere this fall and will feature more than 1,000 hours of library content from BET Networks and Viacom, plus original series from BET Networks, Perry and other film and television creators.
“African Americans are the leading consumers of streaming services, with higher SVOD adoption rates than other consumers, which is why we’re so excited to launch a premium product for this underserved audience,” BET Networks president Scott Mills said in a statement. “BET+ is a natural extension of BET’s linear network, which has been the leading home of black culture for decades. Our curated catalog and original programming will keep the BET+ content offering fresh, fueling subscription growth, viewership and retention.”
The companies did not disclose how much the service will cost consumers upon its debut. A spokesperson for BET Networks said a subscription price would be announced later this summer.
As part of the deal, BET Networks will become the home for Perry’s content catalog, including the original television series House of Payne, films from his Madea franchise and some of Perry’s stage plays. Perry will also produce new original series for the service, including unscripted and variety television series.
Perry’s not the only writer BET+ is bringing on board. Tracy Oliver, the screenwriter behind the film Girl’s Trip, is also producing a television remake of the 1996 film First Wives’ Club for the service. Producer Will Packer, who was behind the films Think Like a Man and Ride Along, is also working on a new series for the service, the company said.
BET+ is part of Viacom’s broader strategy of delving into subscription VOD products as a complement to its ad-supported VOD service, Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired for $340 million in January. In April, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told Adweek that Viacom would use the free ad-supported service to point viewers to more niche subscription VOD offerings.
In that vein, programming from BET Networks will remain available on BET’s channel on PlutoTV. Perry, who has had a longstanding relationship with BET, will continue creating original series for distribution on BET’s linear television network as well.