BET Networks: A High-Definition Cultural Experience
BET Networks: "A High-Definition Black Experience"
Backstory: Since 1980 Black Entertainment Television's mission has been to serve the nation's African-American audience with quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming. Crosscutting Diversity x Entertainment reveals new insight in the merchandising and selling of Black Culture.
Crosscuts: Diversity x Entertainment
Culture Cut: The Culture of Black people in the United States can be define in two ways: in the context of history or in the context of society. Either route will direct you towards the purpose of a culture, race, and ethnicity that is caught somewhere between preservation of pride and reinvention of legacy.
Whether African-American or Black, the unique search for identity, as every ethnic culture has experienced, is still undefined because its history is unresolved; the effects and affects of slavery are still evident in some parts of the country. More than 52% of Black consumers still live in 'the South' where slavery was most evident. And the Black family unit, the traditional symbol of strength of most Cultures, appears to be at odds with itself and modern societies values and social mores.
Add to that, legends, stereotypes, urban myths and the realities of Black Americans and it's hard to tell who is telling the story of Black Culture and what is entertaining about it.
Commerce Cut: BET (Black Entertainment Television) creates and sells Black Culture-based entertainment and media cable programming to advertisers. BET Networks programming reaches 90M American households targeting 18-34 and 24-5; BET, Centric, BET Digital/Mobile/Home Entertainment. The brand is notoriously known for its annual BET Music Awards Show and Hip Hop video programming. BET was the first Black company to be listed on the NYSE in 1991, and was sold to Viacom (VIA) in 2003 for $3B.
In 1980 there was an obvious social need for Black programming. Fresh from of the political progression '70s, African-Americans in the '80s began to define their own version of the American Dream; increased education of African-Americans and second-generation Black money, led to life style aspirations no different than the General Market. Then there was a hiccup, we questioned the validity of 'real life' Cosby's because our realities focused on a different picture. Hip-Hop was born and became a cash cow for the music, media, and entertainment business verticals. Whether it was on BET or not it was Black-inspired entertainment, and there are no barriers to entry in 2010. How will BET curate Black Culture for the masses?Continued on the next page