Martin Luther King III, a son of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and former UN Ambassador and onetime Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young are teaming up to launch Bounce, a broadcast network aimed at African Americans.
The network, which plans to debut this fall, will go after blacks in the 25-54 demographic. That will put it squarely in competition with TV One, the cable network co-owned by Comcast Corp. and radio operator Alfred Liggins. Viacom's BET remains the highest-rated cable channel catering to African Americans.
Others on board include Young's son Andrew "Bo" Young II, Rainforest Films ("Stomp the Yard," "Obsessed," "Takers") co-founders Rob Hardy and Will Packer and former Turner Broadcasting executives Ryan Glover and Jonathan Katz.
Glover feels the market is underserved.
“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," Glover said.
Bounce has gobbled up a slew of movie titles from Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures, including "The Hurricane" and "A Raisin in the Sun." Bounce has also signed multi-year rights agreement with Urban Sports Entertainment Group (USEG) for football and basketball games from the the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Assn.
To distribute Bounce, its owners will look to use digital spectrum from local TV stations. The company has not yet announced any deals with station groups for carriage.
According to Glover, the name "Bounce" was chosen because, "in the 1970s and '80s, the word 'bounce' was also a hip way that we used to describe how we were going somewhere."
The network was announced on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., but there was no mention of the significance of the date in any of the material from the company or any of the statements from those involved in Bounce.
-- Joe Flint