You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viacom Launches BET Online-Subscription Service Outside U.S., Italy, France and Africa

Viacom is launching BET Play, a $4-per-month subscription service with programming from the African-American entertainment cable channel, in about 100 countries — but not in the U.S. or a few other markets, where the media conglom doesn’t want to cannibalize its pay-TV biz or is precluded from offering a direct-to-consumer service.

BET Play is available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices for a subscription fee of $3.99 a month, with a fee seven-day trial. Customers can also play content on Apple TV via AirPlay.

It’s the second direct-to-consumer subscription VOD from Viacom, after the launch last year of Noggin, a $5.99 monthly service for preschoolers.

But BET Play won’t be available to consumers in the U.S., Italy, France or Africa. It’s likely that in those territories, Viacom’s carriage agreements with pay-TV distributors disallow it from delivering a standalone service with the same content on its linear channels.

The launch of the BET Play streaming app is timed to coincide with the 2016 BET Awards on Sunday, June 26. The live kudocast will feature returning hosts Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross and performances by artists including Alicia Keys and Maxwell and a tribute to Prince with performances by Sheila E., The Roots, D’Angelo and Janelle Monae.

“For people around the world who love black culture, BET Play will enable fans to access our content when and where they want it,” Debra Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, said in announcing the launch.

In the States, Viacom offers BET Now, an authenticated app that lets pay-TV customers sign in to access content, as well as similar apps for its other channels.

BET Play, operated by Viacom International Media Networks, provides access to the cable channel’s award shows, current and past TV series, documentaries, stand-up comedy, entertainment news and musical performances.

Programming on the service includes “Being Mary Jane” starring Gabrielle Union (pictured above), “Real Husbands of Hollywood” starring Kevin Hart, “Chasing Destiny” starring Kelly Rowland, “Zoe Ever After” starring Brandy Norwood, and classic interviews from “106 & Park.” In addition, BET Play includes digital short-form original series such as “#BLX.” Live programming will include the BET Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards and the Soul Train Awards.

The BET Play app also features a live linear feed of BET Soul, a music channel covering genres including R&B, neo soul, alternative soul, classic soul, relative hip hop, and Caribbean music.

Viacom International launched Viacom Play Plex in November 2015 as an authenticated service for brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel and Comedy Central. BET Play is the first direct-to-consumer offering from the Viacom Play Plex Suite of mobile TV apps.

To date, Viacom’s Play Plex apps have launched in more than 40 markets, have been downloaded more than 8 million times and delivered 150 million streams, according to the company.

More Digital

  • Vaccination

    YouTube Yanks Ads From Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Channels

    YouTube, under fire for facilitating the spread of conspiracy theories and other misinformation, said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. “We have strict policies that govern what videos we [...]

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content