Comcast taking proposals for black-owned networks

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Comcast’s strategy for addressing the issue of program diversity has come under fire from progressive groups like Public Knowledge and media mogul Byron Allen.

Five years after closing its acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast is still executing a key regulatory condition.

Comcast announced today that its accepting proposals for two African-American-owned networks that will launch in select areas of its footprint by January 2019.

The announcement comes a month after the MSO trumpeted its selection of two independent networks launched by Hispanic-American owners, Primo and Kids Central. 

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Comcast has set up a website to outline what it’s looking for with the proposals, and to accept them. The deadline is March 15.

RELATED: Comcast/NBCU merger threatening programmer diversity, Public Knowledge and Common Cause say

The cable company said it has launched more than 20 independent programming networks since 2011, a list that also includes Aspire and Revolt, which are majority-owned by African-Americans. 

“We are looking forward to receiving another round of great proposals as we begin the process to launch two more African American majority owned networks,” said Justin Smith, senior VP of content acquisition for Comcast Cable, in a statement. 

Comcast’s strategy for addressing the issue of program diversity has come under fire from progressive groups like Public Knowledge, as well as African-American media mogul Byron Allen, who has filed several lawsuits against pay-TV operators, including Comcast, for allegedly lacking of program diversity.  

RELATED: Comcast has not met NBCU diversity conditions, Byron Allen says in FCC petition

"Rather than negotiate in good faith with an established program provider that is 100 percent owned by an African-American, Comcast has chosen to deal with organizations that are nothing more than front organizations, fronts to each of which one prominent African American has lent his name while non-African-Americans call the shots and reap the benefits," Allen said in an FCC petition against Comcast, filed back in March. 

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