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RLJ Entertainment Launches Urban SVOD Channel

5 Nov, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Urban Movie Channel hopes to emulate success of Acorn TV, the latter specializing in British TV content

RLJ Entertainment Nov. 5 announced the launch of UMC (Urban Movie Channel), a subscription streaming service showcasing urban-themed movies, documentaries, comedies, horror and stage plays.

UMC is launching with a free trial period for subscribers through Feb. 4, 2015, and with a suggested retail price of $4.99 monthly or $49.99 annually. For a limited time, the introductory price is $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year.

Among the titles launching are live stand-up performances featuring Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx and Charlie Murphy; documentaries “Dark Girls” and “I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac.” Movies include All Things Fall Apart starring 50 Cent, Mario Van Peebles and Ray Liotta; and The Suspect starring Mekhi Phifer.

In addition, a stage play production of What My Husband Doesn’t Know by David E. Talbert can be found at: www.urbanmoviechannel.com.

Programing previously released under the One Village brand will be incorporated into UMC’s library, which will also include titles from RLJE’s existing Image independent feature film line.

“As more video is consumed over broadband, we believe that we can quickly become the preeminent provider of quality urban entertainment to what has largely been an underserved, yet highly engaged audience,” Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET and RLJ Entertainment’s namesake, said in a statement. “I am convinced that urban consumers will gravitate to the economic and entertainment value proposition of UMC and that the creative community will embrace UMC as the best way to reach their loyal fans and benefit financially from showcasing their outstanding work product.”

UMC hopes to emulate the success of RLJ’s Acorn TV, the SVOD service offering British TV fare that has more than 100,000 subscribers.

“As one of the largest independent distributors of entertainment content, we are uniquely positioned to fulfill the vision of our chairman and deliver to the urban audience an unprecedented library of high-quality video content,” CEO Miguel Penella said in a statement.

UMC will be marketed by Traci Otey Blunt. For the last six years, Ms. Blunt has served as SVP of corporate communications and public affairs at The RLJ Companies, the holding company which formed RLJ Entertainment. Prior to RLJ, Blunt served as a national deputy communications director and director of African-American media for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign.

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