UMC, the AMC Networks-owned streaming service focused exclusively on Black television and film that was created by BET founder Robert L. Johnson, will be rebranded Allblk in January 2021 with a new look and feel.
Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment launched UMC (Urban Movie Channel) in November 2014. The service became part of AMC Networks two years ago with the cable programmer’s acquisition of RLJ Entertainment.
Heading into 2021, Allblk is ramping up production on a slate of original series, including previously announced multi-cam comedy “Millennials”; MC Lyte sitcom “Partners in Rhyme”; legal drama “Lace”; haircare makeover series “My Mane Problem”; and the Datari Turner/eOne reality series “Notorious Queens.” In addition, the Allblk content lineup will feature the continuation of original series “Double Cross,” “A House Divided” and Craig Ross Jr.’s “Monogamy”; WE tv co-production “Beyond the Pole”; and recent releases “A Closer Look,” “For the Love of Jason” and “Terror Lake Drive.”
“UMC began as a distribution model for Black creatives to directly reach the then largely underserved African-American audience without the restrictions of legacy content development and traditional broadcast models,” Johnson said in a statement. “As technology advances and programming demands from our community evolve, the rebranded Allblk will be well positioned to break out as the preeminent streaming destination for viewers seeking Black entertainment.”
AMC Networks last week announced that it had combined UMC and the WE tv network under the leadership of general manager Brett Dismuke (formerly UMC’s chief content officer). Dismuke reports to Miguel Penella, president of subscription VOD for AMC Networks, who reports to COO Ed Carroll.
“UMC’s rebranding as Allblk speaks to the need for curated entertainment experiences immersed in authenticity and targeted to the viewing interest of Black Americans, specifically the Black female audience,” Penella said.
Dismuke added, “Since I first came on board in January 2019, the service has seen significant growth that depicted the need to craft a new brand identity aligned with how expansive our content slate and viewership has become.”
Allblk will replace UMC references across all apps, channels, and platforms in the U.S. during the first full week of January, including across iOS, Android and Amazon Prime Video Channels; Apple TV and Apple TV Channels; Roku; Amazon Fire TV; YouTube TV; and Dish Network and Sling TV. The service will continue to cost $4.99/month or $49.99/year.
In addition to UMC, AMC Networks’ other subscription streaming services are Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, IFC Films Unlimited and AMC Plus. By the end of 2020, the company said it expects 5 million to 5.5 million paid subscribers in aggregate (including more than 4 million paid subscribers for Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC).