Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks obtained the winning bid for the Black News Channel. The station shut down in March just 2 years after its launch. The deadline for the $11 million in assets was set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida was July 11. The court had no qualifying bids during the period outside of the one already received from Entertainment Studios Networks.
Allen’s acquisition will add 300 million linear and digital subscribers to his media company due to Black News Channel’s being carried on traditional packages through Roku, Charter, Cox, Comcast and Verizon. The media mogul told Cablefax that the network went bankrupt because operators didn’t want to pay sub fees:
“If you really want something to succeed and you don’t want to find it in bankruptcy, and they’re pink slipping 300 Black journalists. Yeah, there should have been some sub fees. This is the reason I sued the cable industry before for $40 billion. Are you serious? You’re going to pay anywhere from $1-2 for other cable networks, but zero for the Black News Channel? It’s a bad mark on us as a country that the Black News Channel didn’t get enough support, to have diversity in ownership, diversity in voices and diversity of viewpoints. Alright cable industry, you’ve got one more chance at that. Alright ad community, you’ve got one more chance at that. So we’re going to work closely with folks to let them show the world who they really are.”
There are more steps before ESN can acquire the assets. Non-Debtor Counterparties to Designated Contracts had the opportunity to file objections related to ESN’s bid through 5pm ET on Thursday. A hearing regarding court approval of the transaction to ESN is scheduled to start Tuesday before Chief Judge Karen Specie. After that, the Black News Channel will be revived.