New TV network targets blacks in the South

theGRIO REPORT - Bounce TV and BET, will get a little friendly competition from the newest African-American network on the block: Soul of the South Network...

Earlier this year we heard about Bounce TV, the free broadcast channel founded by Martin Luther King III and Andrew Young, targeting African-American consumers. Now there is a new broadcasting venture on the horizon, Soul of the South Network, which hopes to reach black viewers living in the south.

Based on recent statistics, there has been a large migration of African-Americans from northern states to the south, and currently more than half of our nation’s blacks live in southern states.

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The 2010 Census revealed that 57 percent of all African-Americans live in the South, the highest percentage in more than 50 years. The black population of the South grew at the fastest rate since 1910 and the South was also the fastest-growing region in the country overall, seeing its population increase 14 percent. Atlanta replaced Chicago as the city with the second highest number of African-American residents after New York.

According to the press release, the network plans to spend at least $10 million by early next year to launch in 50 major markets, offering 24 hour programming consisting of entertainment, sports, news and cultural content.

Soul of the South will premiere with full programming in May 2012 in regions of the south and also northern cities like Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

“I’m so proud to lead the launch of Soul of the South, which will be the first broadcast network to speak directly to the lives and values of the more than 20 million African-Americans living in the South,” says Edwin V. Avent, Chairman/CEO, Soul of the South. “We have met with stations in over 50 markets during our road show across the South and they are all excited by our concept of a regional African-American television network.”

Soul of the South Network is also expected to outdo their competitors BET, and Bounce TV by airing five hours a day of news, primarily from bureaus in capitals of southern states like Jackson Mississippi, Montgomery, Alabama, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tallahassee, Florida. The network has negotiated a contract with INN News in Davenport, Iowa to maintain the news operations.

The Atlanta-based Bounce TV network hit airwaves in select cities in September, but has yet to make a notable impact within their black viewing audience. The free broadcast network targets African-Americans ages 25-54 with predominantly entertainment programming in cities including Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Hartford, Norfolk, Louisville, Philadelphia and Kansas City, among other markets.

Advent has high hopes for Soul of the South network, and believes America will embrace their new broadcasting content.

“South of the South Network will embody the heart of African-American culture,” said Advent, “and if we’re as successful as I believe we’ll be, viewers will turn to our network in record numbers because they’ll finally feel at home.”