Tyler Perry has partnered with Viacom's BET Networks to bring a subscription streaming service to the small screen this fall. In addition to the filmmaker's catalog of projects, the forthcoming platform will include original series, BET's portfolio of entertainment, and shows and movies within the Viacom archive.
Dubbed BET Plus, the streaming service is set to arrive this fall and the monthly fee has yet to be disclosed, per Variety. The outlet also reports that despite the crowded nature of the VOD landscape, BET's president Scott Mills says there's plenty of opportunity to create a streaming service for communities of color.
"African Americans are the leading consumers of streaming services, with higher SVOD adoption rates than other consumers, which is why we’re so excited to launch a premium product for this underserved audience. BET Plus is a natural extension of BET’s linear network, which has been the leading home of black culture for decades," Mills said. "Tyler Perry is the perfect partner for BET Plus. The combination of new, original shows and his giant library of popular movies, series, and stage plays that Tyler brings to our joint venture creates an amazing product for his large and passionate fan base."
For Perry, his partnership with BET and Viacom will not only benefit fans of his comedy franchise, but it will also allow him the opportunity to expand his scope as a filmmaker.
“In our industry, the way people consume content is constantly evolving. I’ve paid attention to my audience and what works for them and, for that reason, I’m very excited not only about the idea of partnering with BET to create new and exciting content, but also about the idea of giving people a personalized experience through the ability to curate the content they love to consume,” Perry said. “On a personal level, this will also be the first time I’ll be working in areas like unscripted and variety television, which will afford me the opportunity to work in fresh, creative ways with new voices and to discover new talent.”
While accepting the Ultimate Icon honor at the BET Awards on Sunday, Perry delivered an empowering, heartfelt speech about the life experiences that have allowed him to have such a successful career.
The writer, director, and actor, recalled growing up listening to the jokes his mother and her friends would tell one another, and later, when his abusive father would beat his mother, he would recite the jokes back to her in an effort to make her laugh. He also recalled walking to school as a young boy and being the only one willing to help an old man cross the street. “That moment reminded me of my mother, bringing out of her pain with laughter, helping her cross," he said. He has spent much of his career trying to help black men and women "cross," all the while keeping the thought of his mother at the forefront of his efforts.
“When I built my studio, I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest black neighborhoods in Atlanta so that young black kids could see that a black man did that, and they can do it too. I was trying to help somebody cross," Perry told the audience. "The studio was once a Confederate Army base, which meant that there was Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved. Now that land is owned by one Negro.”