Boston - With its official launch scheduled for next month, new cable network Aspire appears poised to address a much maligned but fast growing advertising segment -- the African-American community.
Aspire was one of a handful of minority networks that were established in the wake of Comcast's NBCUniversal partnership with General Electric Co. One of the conditions set by the Federal Communications Commission in approving the deal was that Comcast commit to adding eight minority-owned or partially owned-and-operated networks -- including four African- American targeted networks. Aspire -- co-owned by former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson -- was one of four networks announced in February. Revolt, a music network co-owned by hip-hop legend Sean "P Diddy" Combs and Hispanic-themed El rey and Baby First Americas -- were the first minority-owned networks chosen by the cable giant.
At a panel discussion at The Cable Show Monday entitled In Plain Sight: Effective Marketing to Black Consumers, Aspire general manager Paul Butler said that although his network won't be the first on the block -- BET, TV One and centric have targeted African-American viewers for years -- there is room for more.