Having recently secured a settlement of its December 2014 racial discrimination lawsuit against AT&T, and distribution for its seven cable channels across DirecTV and U-verse, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios announced its acquisition of the New York-based Black news platform TheGrio on Tuesday night.
“David Wilson and his founding partner Dan Woolsey have done an incredible job these past seven years building TheGrio, and we are one thousand percent committed to continue expanding this digital news community’s reach across all global media platforms, including our broadcast television syndication programs, cable television networks, and motion picture division,” Allen said in a statement to TheWrap. “We plan on investing heavily in digital publishing, and TheGrio has an excellent management team, making it the perfect asset to start our portfolio of online publishing.”
TheGrio — which takes its name from “storyteller” in West African language — is a digital video-centric news community platform providing stories and perspectives with an editorial mandate to focus on events and ideas of interest to the Black community. The digital platform currently generates 3 million unique visitors per month.
“We are excited to have TheGrio join Byron Allen’s ever-expanding Entertainment Studios media empire,” Wilson, co-founder and executive fditor of TheGrio, continued. “Byron shares our vision of growing TheGrio into the leading video content creator and distribution platform for African-Americans. We look forward to developing the next iteration of TheGrio, and the fact that it will remain 100 percent African American-owned is very significant.”
Allen’s complaint against AT&T blasted the organization for having no carriage agreements with Black-owned media companies, and brought to light the practice of Black celebrities posing as “fronts” for channels owned by “white-owned media,” without naming names.
Founded by Allen in 1993, Entertainment Studios, Inc. owns seven 24-hour HD cable networks serving nearly 80 million subscribers. The company also produces, distributes and sells advertising for 40 television programs.
TheGrio digital news platform had once been owned by NBC News. It was sold back to its founders, including Wilson, in 2014.