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Black TV Networks Are Apparently Having The Best Year Ever! Are You Watching?

Black TV Networks Are Apparently Having The Best Year Ever! Are You Watching?

If you’re a black TV network, or a network that caters to a black audience primarily, you’re probably enjoying your best ratings ever! 

Just a couple of weeks ago, TV One announced that the network was on track to achieve what it called a “historic first quarter ratings record” this year, for both primetime and total day, thanks to strong reception of original scripted projects in “Fear Files” and “Hear No Evil,” which pulled in a combined 3.3 Million total viewers across their premiere and encore airings.  

Both movies aired the weekend of 03/13-03/15.

Also contributing to the network’s Q1 ratings success were the premieres of the 46th NAACP Image Awards, a sneak peek of new summer comedy “Born Again Virgin,” the Original Movie “White Water,” and returning series “Unsung Hollywood” and “R&B Divas LA.”

Yesterday, Bounce TV, a still very young TV network – the nation’s first-ever and fastest-growing broadcast television network designed for African American audiences, as it describes itself – announced that it just closed its strongest quarter in its history, continuing a ratings surge in the just-completed first quarter of 2015, setting network records for viewership and the delivery of key targeted demographics audiences.

During the first quarter of 2015, Bounce TV says that the network posted double-digit gains in households and key sales demos.

Competitively, Bounce TV was a Top 10 network among all ad-supported cable networks in the Today Day delivery of African American viewers 18+, outperforming other networks like TBS, FX, Bravo, WEtv, Oxygen, E!, VH1, TV One and over 90 others.

Bounce TV’s viewership expansion is continuing at a time when the network is about to debut its newest and biggest original series yet – “Mann & Wife” – on Tuesday, April 7. The new, family-oriented sitcom sees real-life husband and wife team David Mann (“House of Payne,” “Meet the Browns”) and Tamela Mann (“Madea’s Big Happy Family,” “Sparkle”) as a newly-married husband and wife trying to blend their families together.

Vivica A. Fox, JoMarie Payton and Tony Rock co-star. New episodes will premiere Tuesday nights at 9pm (ET).

And today, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, also an upstart, announced, via press release, that it has also delivered its most-watched quarter in network history in Q1 2015, with 581,000 total primetime viewers, up +44% vs. the prior quarter. The network also said that it achieved its highest quarterly rank in primetime in network history at #21 in the key W25-54 demo (among ad-supported cable networks). 

Additionally, OWN said that it had its most-watched week in network history for the week of March 23, with 798,000 total viewers in primetime.

Just last week, OWN announced that last Tuesday’s episode of Tyler Perry’s “The Have and Have Nots” and “If Loving You is Wrong” both delivered historic viewership highs for the network. Both shows pulled in an average of 2.5 million viewers. “The Have and Have Nots,” which aired it’s season’s finale, drew 3.5 million viewers alone. Not only was it the most watched show on cable TV on Tuesday night, it also became the most watched show ever on the network, breaking the previous record holder, Oprah’s interview with Bobbi Kristina Brown on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” a month after the death of her mother, Whitney Houston.

This is momentum for OWN that begun in 2013/2014, thanks, in large part, to the contributions of Tyler Perry, helping the network make ratings history, although it’s still quite young. I remember when it seemed news of OWN’s struggles dominated the media landscape; There didn’t seem to be much of a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. It was all doom and gloom. Those days are now seemingly in the distant past.

As for BET, they’re the network all the others area chasing, with hit original series like “Being Mary Jane” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” and event programming like the BET Awards and BET Honors. But it’s still very much a competitive space, as competition for your eyeballs intensifies, especially as non-black TV networks are realizing the profit potential in attracting black audiences with series that center around the lives of black characters. See Fox with its record-setting soap opera “Empire,” as well as my post on the 73+ new pilots and TV series centered around the lives of black characters that have been ordered for the 2015/2016 TV season.

The 2015/2016 TV season is going to be an interesting one, and certainly closely watched.

So how does it feel to be wanted guys? Even if it might be a temporary, once every 15 to 20 years kind of occurrence?

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