Robert Johnson Launches Urban Movie Channel

BET founder Robert Johnson will look to reach urban online viewers with the launch of UMC – Urban Movie Channel.

The service, which will feature urban-themed movies including documentaries, comedies, horror films and stage plays, will launch with a free trial period through Feb. 4 before charging an limited introductory price of $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. Eventually the service will retail at a suggested price of $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.

Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment company will incorporate its content produced under the One Village brand into UMC’s library, which will also include live stand-up performances featuring Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx, and Charlie Murphy; documentaries Dark Girls and I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; and feature films All Things Fall Apart and The Suspect; and the stage play production of What My Husband Doesn’t Know by David E. Talbert.

“UMC was designed so that the African American and urban creative community could directly reach consumers in a way that removes many of the restrictions associated with the legacy content development and distribution models,” said Johnson in a statement. “As more video is consumed over broadband, we believe that we can quickly become the preeminent provider of quality urban entertainment to what has largely been an underserved, yet highly engaged audience.  I am convinced that urban consumers will gravitate to the economic and entertainment value proposition of UMC and that the creative community will embrace UMC as the best way to reach their loyal fans and benefit financially from showcasing their outstanding work product.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.