by G. Brown
Remember the good ole’ days when everybody had cable and huddled around the TV? Not if you’re a millennial. Chances are the good ole days of TV means ignoring the tele and grabbing the mouse or tablet.
Cord cutting isn’t just expanding-it’s escalating according to USAToday. The newspaper estimates 21 to 40 year olds are “likely to cut ties with their cable or satellite provider“. Subscribers are unplugging by the thousands annually as providers keep raising the price of service with the average bill surging to about $106 monthly.
Cost may be a primary factor in cord cutting, but it’s not the only consideration. Convenience is another. The gadget generation that cut its teeth on video games, Ipods, mp3’s, laptops, and mobile phones is synonymous with convenience. They’re accustomed to having their music or movies when they want it… not when network programing brings it. With that kind of demand, the advent of streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are at the forefront of the streaming boom.
Just like smaller cable providers filled in the gap for budget conscious or rural customers, niche streaming companies are tailoring their content for specific audiences. That’s good news for Black audiences that want more content focused on their culture, their conversations and their community.
Here are three Black streaming companies to help you cut the cord and find channels distinctly showcasing African-American talent, movies and content.
1-Black on Purpose TV Their name spells out their mission and the need the company intends to meet. BOPTV identifies itself as the largest Black owned streaming television network in the world and back up its claim with millions of viewers on their platform. BOPTV says it offers viewers “streaming content that shows people of color in a non-stereotypical and positive light”. The platform has 24 channels of films, TV shows, News & Sports. You can sign up for a free three day trial to watch on your laptop, Amazon Firestick or Roku.
2- X on Demand “X” marks the spot for Black content creators and moviemakers at this platform where they are the featured event. XOD TV is an independent Black-owned streaming platform with a precise prerequisite—it only showcases “works by Black filmmakers, with at least one person of Black American/African descent in a leading role both in front of and behind the lens…” XOD founder and CEO Rashidah De Vore says, “We want to make this as ‘for us, by us’ a platform as possible…Going the traditional route means having movies and shows plugged with ads for things that don’t better or enrich our community, which goes against our brands initiative. By selling ad space directly to other Black business owners, we’re able to insure our subscribers experiences stay on code.” A subscription grants access to exclusive movies and series you won’t find on mainstream services. XOD is planning to introduce TV apps later this year, but for now head over to the site where you can sign up online and watch via smartphone, tablet or laptop.
3–American Legacy Network The rich history of the African American culture is too vast to cram into one month long celebration every year. Who better to showcase that rich history ALN which has been telling stories about African-American history and culture for almost 25 years. ALN started with magazines, board games and a mobile truck exhibit, now they’re utilizing the streaming platform to reach more people with classic Black films, documentaries and historical dramas. All you have to do is register to start watching docs like “The Buffalo Soldiers” and Marian Anderson story as well as classic tv series and movies like “Get Christie Love”. The site offers free content that you can peruse as soon as you register.
The streaming platform is getting more populated everyday with services like Urban Movie Channel and BrownSugar. Even some of the giant mainstream services like Netflix is trying to target the Black audience by featuring throwback films like “B*A*P*S” each month, but that came only after complaints from viewers about the lack of quality “classic Black films” on the platform. And while Netflix knows streaming, it doesn’t know the Black experience like the rising number of Black owned streaming services that aren’t just plastering content one week every month or one month out of the year. These new Black owned platforms are dedicated to providing quality content without limits. It’s more than just watching a movie or a TV show. It’s about celebrating the Black experience and elevating a community.