ATLANTA – On the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death [April 4], the heir to Dr. King’s name and legacy announced he is living out one of his father’s biggest dreams: media ownership.
Martin Luther King III and Ambassador Andrew Young have joined forces to launch a broadcast TV network aimed at African American viewers called Bounce TV.
Bounce TV, launching in the fall as a 24/7 station, is being billed as “the nation’s first-ever over-the-air broadcast television network designed exclusively for African American audiences” and will air movies, live sporting events, off-net series and original programming. The target demographic will be viewers ages 25-54.
“My father envisioned the day that African Americans would play major roles in entertainment within ownership, not just serve as entertainers on the stage or in front of the cameras,” MLK III told Broadcasting & Cable magazine. “That’s what makes this even more exciting to me as we embark on this new endeavor of an independently owned and operated broadcast television network featuring African Americans.”
The Atlanta-based television network plans to distribute content through the digital signals of local television stations. Bounce TV has acquired the TV rights to 400 African American-oriented films from Sony Pictures, Image Entertainment, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution and Codeblack Entertainment.
Viewers can expect to view movies from NBC Universal including Ray, Do the Right Thing, Glory, The Hurricane, Ali, Boyz N the Hood, Car Wash and more. Codeblack Entertainment has licensed films and documentaries to Bounce TV featuring Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, Vanessa Williams and Terrance Howard, and comedies and dramas starring Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Charles Dutton, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.
Even better is the fact that producer Will Packer and director Rob Hardy, co-founders of production company Rainforest Films, also are involved, with Hardy serving as chief content officer and Packer as chief strategy and marketing officer.
They will join former Turner Broadcasting executives Ryan Glover and Jonathan Katz, who will will serve as executive VPs, as part of the initial ownership team.
Bounce TV will be an ad-supported network with half of that time being available for insertion of local advertising by affiliates. Jeffrey Wolf, former executive VP of U.S. syndication sales at Sony Pictures Television and current head of the Lobo Group, will handle network distribution of Bounce.