Allen Media Group scoops up Black News Channel for $11M

Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group (AMG) has added a new asset to its portfolio, plucking Black News Channel (BNC) out of bankruptcy for $11 million.

AMG is acquiring BNC out of bankruptcy from billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. On Wednesday the company announced that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court issued an order approving the sale of substantially all of BNC assets free and clear.

Notably, BNC will add 300 million linear and digital subscribers to the Allen Media Group portfolio. According to AMG, Khan had invested over $100 million in BNC, which counts carriage on traditional linear TV packages offered through Comcast, Charter, Cox, Dish, DirecTV, and Verizon. The network currently has around 45 million linear subscribers and Allen intends to grow distribution to about 80 million over the next six months.

“We are excited to have been selected to acquire the Black News Channel,” said Byron Allen, founder and CEO of AMG, in a statement “Allen Media Group will deliver a best-in-class network to serve the underserved African-American community and the advertisers who want to reach this extremely valuable audience. Also, we appreciate the opportunity to provide cable operators, satellite companies, telcos, and digital platforms diversity of ownership, voices, and viewpoints on their programming line-ups by having a 100 percent African-American owned network."

Black News Channel debuted in February 2020 as 24-7 cable news channel “dedicated to the unique perspective of African American communities,” according to a statement at launch by co-founders J.C. Watts and Bob Brillante.  

However, just two years later, the network, which aimed to provide a look at news from Black Americans' perspective, abruptly shut down in March 2022.  At the time, then-CEO Princell Hair told staff in a memo that BNC would cease live production and file for bankruptcy as “challenging market conditions and global financial pressures” meant the company was unable to meet its financial goals.

With the new sale, BNC is the latest addition to Allen’s media portfolio which includes 12 TV networks including The Weather Channel, as well as streaming services Local Now, HBCU Go, Sports.TV, and theGrio Streaming app. In May it launched The Weather Channel streaming app, which is a direct-to-consumer service that costs $3 per month and features a livestream of the 24/7 weather news channel.

Additionally, AMG has invested over $1 billion in the past three years to acquire 27 ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX network affiliate broadcast stations nationwide.