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BET Founder Going Digital

Videos streaming from a laptop screen.
Credit: Thinkstock

It looks like Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET, is going from the small screen to the laptop and/or tablet screen.

The former head honcho of groundbreaking African American network is now launching the Urban Movie Channel, a digital channel of “urban-themed” films, according to a statement sent to JET.  Planned content includes live stand-up performances by the likes of Jamie Foxx, Charlie Murphy and Kevin Hart.  It will also show documentaries, such as Dark Girls.   The channel will launch early next year with a free trial, but then move to a paid model eventually expected to cost $4.99 a month or $49.99 annually.

Johnson is quoted as saying of this new development:

“As founder of BET, I have gained a deep understanding and knowledge about the African American and urban consumer and the entertainment content that appeals to them.  UMC was designed so that the African American and urban creative community could directly reach consumers in a way that removes many of the restrictions associated with the legacy content development and distribution models. As more video is consumed over broadband, we believe that we can quickly become the preeminent provider of quality urban entertainment to what has largely been an underserved, yet highly engaged audience.”

So, what’s up?  Good idea? Bad idea?