Essay A Cable Channel For American Senior Citizens

2252 Words 10 Pages
After viewing a proposal shared by his fellow passenger, and discussing the possibility of a cable channel dedicated to American senior citizens, Johnson envisioned a different model of the same programming application. Reasoning that the national African American population offered a multibillion-dollar consumer market, Johnson saw lucrative potential. As quoted in Forbes, Johnson believed that "The idea for BET was not conceived out of idealism, but as a business opportunity that had been ignored." With permission from his fellow passenger, Johnson built his own proposal, and used it to secure a $15,000 loan from a Washington bank, and launched Black Entertainment Television with the planned hope of making his venture profitable within three years.
At the time of this launch, expectations for the cable industry itself were high: with many rural and suburban areas already wired, cable was preparing to move into the more lucrative urban areas. BET was expected to profit from the urban shift. With the intent of offering franchise owners and operators the ability to be able to service a largely untapped African American market with a viable product, Johnson approached John Malone, then head of Telecommunications Inc. (TCI), then the third largest cable franchise in the country. TCI, just beginning to compete for expansion into the urban market and African American consumers accepted Johnson’s proposal in November, 1979, when TCI paid $180,000 for a twenty percent stake in…

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