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TheGrio Aims To Deliver News, Entertainment Content to Black Audiences Across Multiple Platforms

Dear Culture on theGrio Black Podcast Network
(Image credit: theGrio )

Allen Media Group-owned digital news service theGrio is ramping up its push to serve Black audiences looking for news and entertainment information through its TV network, digital and podcast offerings.

The company, which Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group purchased in 2016, recently launched theGrio Black Podcast Network -- which offers listeners access to Black Entertainment, culture and news -- to go alongside the service’s theGrio.tv digital network and theGrio news-based website. 

TheGrio senior VP of news and entertainment Geraldine Moriba recently spoke to Multichannel News Senior Content Producer, Programming R. Thomas Umstead about the company's strategy to serve Black consumers on whatever platform audiences choose. An edited version of that interview appears below. 

Multichannel News: How do you feel theGrio’s brand is positioned in a very crowded television marketplace?

TheGrio's Geraldine Moriba

TheGrio's Geraldine Moriba (Image credit: Amy Anaiz)

Geraldine Moriba: Our mission is to inform the black community everywhere we consume information. We know some people get their information from a website; some people get it from mobile apps; other people listen to podcasts. We over-index in new technology, so we wanna keep up with that and be everywhere we consume information. At the same time we don’t want to leave out generations who are still going to go to the website, because that is our bread and butter, but we also want to reach new audiences who are getting information from other platforms.

MCN: How does theGrio’s recent Black Podcast Network launch mesh with its website and television distribution strategy?

GM: The black community is a large community and we're not all the same – we don’t think the same, we don’t behave the same and we don’t all have the same beliefs. There's definitely commonality, but we’re different people. The way we consume information and where we get information also varies. There are people who get stories and information from podcasts – in fact, Black Americans over-index in podcasts, according to Nielsen. We right now make up over 20% of all podcast listeners, which is practically double our population. People who listen to podcasts might also get news from websites or a mobile app. Certainly there’s some overlap, but people are creatures of habit, and we want to genuinely try to inform people wherever they consume information. We’re about providing information and becoming a destination, but as black-owned media company it’s also about empowerment.

MCN: With respect to television, what is theGrio’s strategy to attract viewers?

GM: So on the television side, we will still have some news, but the television side is more lifestyle and entertainment. It is a different medium, and we recognize that people go to TV for different things. We don't want to create a 24-hour news channel – that's not our mission. We are building shows right now that will have a news component, but the majority of the content will always be lifestyle and entertainment and movies. There are over 1,500 movies available now on theGrio’s OTT (over-the-top) and OTA (over-the-air) platforms.

MCN: You mentioned that theGrio.TV’s focus on the television side is not necessarily news, but at some point will the network look to fill a void for news content targeted to Black viewers created by the recent shut down of The Black News Channel?

GM: It’s unfortunate that BNC shut down – there were a lot of talented people there, and we need that information. We are absolutely trying to be number one in our competitive set and trying to amplify Black culture. BNC was strictly news – we’re definitely news but also entertainment and lifestyle. ■ 

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

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.