Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raycom Media to carry nation's first broadcast network for African Americans



Raycom Media, one of the nation's largest broadcasters, will make Bounce TV, the first-ever over-the-air broadcast television network designed exclusively for African-American audiences, available in 26 Raycom markets when the network launches this fall, it was announced today.

The deal is the first distribution agreement for the newly-announced Bounce TV. The Raycom owned and operated stations to carry Bounce TV on their digital spectrum represent over 10% of all U.S. television households and nearly 19% of African American television homes. Bounce TV expects to be in at least 50% of U.S. television households at launch with more distribution agreements to be announced shortly.

As part of the multi-year agreement, Raycom will carry Bounce TV in Cleveland/Akron, OH (WOIO/WUAB), Charlotte, NC (WBTV), Cincinnati, OH (WXIX), West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX), Birmingham, AL (WBRC), Memphis (WMC), Louisville, KY (WAVE), Richmond, VA (WUPV), Columbia, SC (WIS), Huntsville, AL (WAFF), Shreveport, LA (KSLA), Jackson, MS (WLBT), Baton Rouge, LA (WAFB), Savannah, GA (WTOC), Charleston, SC (WCSC), Myrtle Beach/Florence, SC (WMBF), Tyler/Lufkin, TX (KLTV), Augusta GA (WFXG), Montgomery, AL (WSFA), Columbus, GA (WTVM), Wilmington, NC (WECT), Biloxi, MS (WLOX), Hattiesburg, MS (WDAM), Dothan, AL (WDFX) and Lake Charles, LA (KPLC).

"Bounce TV is the right network at the right time for our stations," commented Raycom president and CEO Paul McTear. "Bounce TV will allow us to better serve our communities, giving underserved African American consumers a new local television brand designed specifically for them while also providing our local stations an ideal companion network for their digital spectrum. We believe Bounce TV will be a meaningful network in our local communities and we look forward to a great relationship for many years to come."

"Landing our first station group is significant, but to explode out of the gate with Raycom, a leader in providing local television across the country, is tremendous and instantly validates the mission of Bounce TV," said Bounce TV distribution chief Jeffrey Wolf. "The Raycom stations will be able to localize our network and have it serve as a perfect complement to their primary channel. We could not be more thrilled to welcome Raycom as our foundation affiliate group."

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) supports Raycom Media's decision to carry Bounce TV. "In launching the new Bounce TV network, Raycom is utilizing digital spectrum in a very smart and truly meaningful way by serving African American television viewers with a free niche programming service," said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. "Local TV stations across America are using TV airwaves to deliver on the promise of digital television, and we fully expect that other broadcasters will support Bounce TV and other unique program services."

Bounce TV will launch this fall and will target African Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sporting events, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-net series, original programming and more. Bounce TV will air twenty four hours a day, seven days a week as a digital terrestrial network designed for carriage on the digital signals of local television stations. The Founding Group is led by Martin Luther King III, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Andrew "Bo" Young III, Rob Hardy and Will Packer, co-founders of Rainforest Films, one of the top African American production companies in the world.

Bounce TV just acquired the television rights to nearly 400 African American-skewing motion pictures in four individual, multi-year licensing agreements, including: Jamie Foxx's 2004 Academy Award-winning performance as Ray Charles in Ray; Denzel Washington's Academy Award-nominated role in The Hurricane; The Bone Collector, which pairs Washington with Angelina Jolie; Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Mo' Better Blues; The Nutty Professor I and II, starring Eddie Murphy; Bowfinger starring Murphy and Steve Martin; Michael Jackson and Diana Ross headlining The Wiz; the 1995 comedy Major Payne with Damon Wayans; Dave Chappelle's Block Party (2005), the 1976 classic Car Wash and more. Live sports and events will be part of the Bounce TV schedule and the network also has a multi-year rights agreement with Urban Sports Entertainment Group (USEG) to televise both football and basketball games from the nation's largest African American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA.)

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