Paramount Global’s BET Media is launching a cheaper, ad-supported version of its direct-to-consumer streaming service, BET Plus.
The new service, called BET Plus Essential, will cost $6 a month when it launches on June 25, timed to coincide with the national telecast of the 2023 BET Awards.
In a press release on Thursday, officials at BET Media said the cheaper version will offer the same programming of Black-centric movies and TV shows as BET Plus, but with short ad interruptions. Those ad breaks will be around 15 to 30 seconds each, and will play before and during content.
“A primary focus of BET Plus has been delivering consumers the content they want, how they want it, and when they want it, so the natural evolution of the service was to provide consumers with a more economical ad-integrated experience,” Scott Mills, the president and CEO of BET Media Group, said in a statement. “We are delighted to expand access to our premium streaming service by introducing this ad-supported tier.”
Louis Carr, the president of media sales at BET Media, said advertisers have expressed interest in buying inventory against BET Plus shows and movies as well as other non-linear content offered by Paramount.
“As the preeminent Black streaming service, only BET Plus Essential can deliver reach, resonance, relevance and scale,” Carr said. ” In fact, 80 percent of BET Plus members watch from a connected TV, and, with the launch of our ad-supported option, we offer advertisers the perfect addition to linear, reaching even more Black viewers when they are most engaged.”
Existing BET Plus members won’t be affected by the launch of BET Plus Essential, but will have the option to convert their subscriptions to the ad-supported version. Currently, a membership to BET Plus costs $10 a month.
The launch of BET Plus Essential comes at a time when Paramount Global has been widely reported to be soliciting buyers in an attempt to divest the Black-centric media division. BET Plus is operated by Paramount through a joint venture with entertainer Tyler Perry, who is said to be one of the interested parties in acquiring the majority or all of BET Media.