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Lionsgate launches “Ebony TV” with Ebony Media

The new free streaming channel debuts on Samsung TV Plus first, then on other streaming platforms later this month.

The new free streaming channel debuts on Samsung TV Plus first, then on other streaming platforms later this month.

Ebony Media and Lionsgate are joining forces to launch a new free, ad-supported streaming television channel.

The channel, called Ebony TV, debuted on Wednesday with a curated selection of Lionsgate-distributed shows and movies like “Dear White People,” “Snitch,” “The Great Debaters,” “Jackie Brown” and “Kevin Hart: What the Fit.”

Ebony TV launched first on Samsung TV Plus, the free streaming platform baked into newer-model Samsung TVs, phones and tablets. The channel will become available on other free platforms throughout the month, including The Roku Channel, Amazon’s Freevee and Fox Corporation’s Tubi.

“Ebony has long been an outlet our culture could count on for news and entertainment,” Eden Bridgeman Sklenar, the CEO of Ebony Media, said in a statement. “Our new partnership with Lionsgate and the launch of Ebony TV is an extension of our brand that will provide our audience with Black-focused programming that furthers our mission to Move Black Forward.”

It is the latest free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel to launch from Lionsgate, which already distributes content through streaming networks like MovieSphere, OuterSphere and HerSphere.

“With the exceptional growth of MovieSphere by Lionsgate over the past year, we are excited to collaborate with Ebony to launch our first FAST channel providing premium Lionsgate content tailored to Black audiences,” Susan Hummell, the head of domestic channels at Lionsgate, said on Tuesday. “Ebony is the perfect partner to help bring our expansive library to a demographic that has been previously underserved in the FAST space.”

The launch of Ebony TV comes as Lionsgate prepares to split itself from Starz, the multiplex movie network and premium streaming platform, which will be spun into a separate business early next year.

“I’m excited about the separation,” Jeff Hirsch, the CEO of the Starz business, said at an investors conference in September. “It will allow both businesses to tell their stand-alone story in their own way. I think investors…like simple stories, whether it’s pure studio selling as an arms dealer, or a pure network business.”

Lionsgate is wasting no time partnering with other media outlets as it seeks new distribution channels for its television and film content. In addition to its FAST channels, Lionsgate has content licensing deals with a number of other platforms, including Paramount Plus, Tubi and Netflix.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).