RLJ Entertainment said Acorn TV, a subscription-video service specializing in British drama, mystery and other genres, more than doubled its subscriber base to over 430,000 at the end of 2016, up from 195,000 a year earlier.
In addition, RLJ said, subscribers to UMC, the Urban Movie Channel streaming service, quadrupled to stand at over 20,000 subscribers at the end of 2016.
Acorn TV is available for $4.99 per month or $49.99 annually in the U.S. and Canada, directly from RLJ as well as through Amazon Channels. Exclusive programming coming to the service includes original movie “The Witness for the Prosecution” starring Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough and Kim Cattrall (pictured above) in a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s short story, which premieres Monday, Jan. 30, and classic 1980s sketch comedy series “Alfresco,” which launched the careers of Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and Stephen Fry (also hitting Jan. 30).
Other exclusive premieres on Acorn TV in January were Canadian period mystery series “Murdoch Mysteries” season 10; the return of Australian drama “800 Words”; and the season finale of British thriller “The Level” starring Karla Crome, Robert James-Collier and Noel Clarke.
“We believe the rapid growth in subscribers confirms our strategy to bring high-quality niche content to passionate audiences,” said Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJ Entertainment.
In October, AMC Networks entered into an agreement with RLJ Entertainment under which AMC is loaning the company $65 million and has rights to acquire up to half the company. RLJ Entertainment, led by chairman Robert Johnson, founder of BET Networks, came together in its current form in 2012 when Johnson acquired Acorn and indie film distributor Image Entertainment.
RLJ Entertainment, through U.K. development arm Acorn Media Enterprises, owns all rights to the hit U.K. mystery series “Foyle’s War” and is developing new programs based on the franchise. RLJE owns 64% of Agatha Christie Ltd., which manages the intellectual property and publishing rights to the mystery writer’s works.