Paramount Global’s Future Hangs in the Balance as Bids Roll in for BET

Paramount Global’s Future Hangs in the Balance as Bids Roll in for BET
  • PublishedJuly 29, 2023

Throughout 2023, media giant Paramount Global has been entertaining offers for the sale of the Black Entertainment Television Group (BET), which includes popular cable channels BET and VH1, along with the BET+ streaming service. The company’s initial interest in selling BET sparked after turning down a $3 billion offer for Showtime earlier in the year, and since then, a slew of potential buyers, including notable figures like Byron Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, and 50 Cent, have expressed their interest in acquiring the brand.

2018 Governors Awards- Arrivals – Hollywood, California, U.S., 18/11/2018 – Actor Tyler Perry. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Interestingly, a prominent contender for BET’s ownership already exists within its current ranks. Multi-talented writer, director, producer, actor, and billionaire, Tyler Perry, already holds a one-quarter stake in BET+. Perry recently submitted a final bid of $2 billion for the entire vertical, just shy of Paramount’s asking price by $1 billion. This puts the potential sale into question, leaving Paramount Global with the crucial decision of how much it is willing to let go of the iconic brand.

On the other hand, Byron Allen’s final bid stands at $2.7 billion. However, unlike Perry’s offer, it remains uncertain whether Allen has secured the necessary financial backing to seal the deal. Allen’s media empire already boasts The Weather Channel, Local Now, nearly three dozen local TV affiliates, and more.

Back in 2000, when it was known as Viacom, Paramount purchased BET for $2.7 billion. Now, as the media conglomerate faces an impending decision on the brand’s future, the fate of BET’s streaming platform also hangs in the balance. BET+ currently offers two subscription tiers, priced at $9.99 per month for the premium ad-free plan and $5.99 per month for the ad-supported option. With a seven-day free trial available, BET+ aims to cater to diverse viewer preferences.

Other streaming services, such as Netflix, have come to realize the potential of ad-supported tiers, which can generate significant revenue while making content more accessible to a wider audience. Whoever emerges as the eventual owner of BET will play a critical role in shaping the streaming platform’s future and ensuring the long-term viability of the brand.

BET+ stands as a prominent online streaming service from BET Networks, forming a joint venture with Tyler Perry Studios. As a premier online subscription video-on-demand service targeting Black audiences and enthusiasts of Black culture, BET+ boasts an extensive library of over 1,000 hours of premium content. This includes exclusive new programming, beloved TV series, favorite movies, documentaries, and specials from BET Networks. Tyler Perry’s original content, such as plays, series, and box office hits, also finds a home on the platform, further solidifying its appeal to subscribers.

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