The cable-satellite network Black News Channel, which launches November 15, has a major new backer.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid “Shad” Khan won’t reveal specifics about his investment, but a source told the New York Post the majority stake exceeds $25 million. Khan was quoted in an AP story, noting: “It’s significant, and frankly it’s open-ended.”
The minority owned-and-operated BNC, based in Tallahassee, Florida, will reach 33 million U.S. households. That breaks down as 23 million households by satellite and 10 million by cable in the country’s top African American TV markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the company said.
The network has agreements with Charter Communications, Comcast and Dish.
Per the BNC site, the network will air more than 12 hours daily of original programming during weekdays and more than five hours daily of original programming during weekends. That includes sports, news and talk shows.
Cofounded by former Republican U.S. Rep JC Watts Jr. and Bob Brillante, and in the works since 2004, Khan stated he plans to work with both executives. Khan, whose worth is estimated at $8 billion, also owns England’s Fulham FC soccer team. His fortune was made in the auto-equipment industry.
Watts, tapped as chairman of the new network, says it will steer clear of political ideology. The network is “culturally specific to the African American community,” he told AP. Brilliante is CEO.
BNC cites Nielsen research, noting African Americans make up 14% of the U.S. population. They are also spending $1.2 trillion annually.
Prior to his official debut, BNC conducted an 18-month live programming trial, distributed in 8 million homes.
The network has partnered with historically black colleges and universities to utilize experts and scholars as on-air analysts.