Over 75% of the 46 million Black people in the U.S. say they want more content that targets them, but recent studies show Black people are still underrepresented as both creators and leads in TV and film. This gap between the supply and demand for Black-focused content has resulted in Hollywood leaving $10 billion of value on the table by not addressing the demands of Black viewers.
BlackOakTV, a subscription video platform exclusively targeting Black viewers, relaunches this summer with the expressed-intent of filling that gap and fulfilling the needs of Black viewers looking for more content that reflects their lives and experiences. In a streaming era in which major platforms often pigeonhole Black content and creators, BlackOakTV is creating a destination where Black viewers can consume all-Black content, all the time.
In designing their future for streaming, Black founders Uzo Ometu and Iyanu Obidele created BlackOakTV for Black people, in partnership with Black creators. BlackOakTV offers one of the few truly Black-owned streaming services that’s hosted on its own proprietary platform. In addition, the SVOD platform showcases enticing original TV and film content, a sleek design and user interface, and soon to come, community features that allow users to better engage with the platform’s content and creators.
During the current streaming wars where every SVOD platform wants to come out on top, many companies are making tough economic decisions to cope with rising overhead costs. These financial cuts usually come at the expense of diversity initiatives and programming. While many SVOD platforms make cuts to their diversity teams, BlackOakTV continues to bet on Black culture by creating an equitable platform for indie talent while delivering unique, high-quality, character-driven content to its 20k and counting consumers.
As BlackOakTV seeks to differentiate itself in a crowded SVOD market where competition for content is fierce, the founders make a point to provide content creators with the opportunities to keep the rights to their intellectual property and opt for equity in lieu of cash compensation, if they so choose. With this rare approach to content acquisition, BlackOakTV has been able to partner with YouTube sensations like Dormtainment, Bigg Jah and Ayona the Artist, as well as with more traditional filmmakers and comedians like Shana A. Solomon and Barry Brewer.
When asked why consumers should join the BlackOakTV platform, founder Uzo Ometu says: “There are maybe a handful of Black creators that get the funding and autonomy to create the unapologetically Black shows they know their fans want to see. As a result, it’s Black viewers that get shortchanged. In the long-run, we’re creating a home for Black creators to get that backing, so that Black viewers can finally have a destination that gives them the characters and stories they want to watch.”
Understanding the history and ups and downs of Black content in America, BlackOakTV aims to leverage streaming technology, partnership with Black creators, and the unparalleled engagement of Black consumers to make sure this era of Black creativity is not just another fad abused by mainstream media, but instead a time where quality Black content is here to stay for good.