Black Entertainment Television (BAIT) is an American network targeting black Americans. It is operated by Viacom CBS, a part of the Viacom group of companies. It has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and is formerly located in Washington, D.C., .
Unlike most of America’s popular television networks, BET offers African American related programming in addition to general programming. The emphasis on the African American culture is evident in the types of music that are featured on the Viacom stations. Since the bet was formed in the late seventies, Viacom had begun to diversify into different genres of media which includes movies, music, theatre, fashion, books, and television.
BET operates two major networks – B Entertainment and B BET Entertainment. B Entertainment is primarily focused on music while B BET Entertainment operates mainly on fashion and film. BET’s sister channels include Cooking Withrities, I’m Going To Take My First Step, Growing Up Gotti, I’m Sweetened, The Real World, Shade Therapy, Breakthrough, and The Rose. In recent years, the company has begun to offer original programming in hopes to appeal to a younger audience.
The company has expanded its range of offerings by adding comedy, reality shows, music videos, game shows, home shopping, cooking, sports, dating, reality talk shows, video games, and much more. The popularity of the company has made it a leading provider of pay per view options for American viewers. This is in contrast with traditional networks who focus their programming on a national audience. This has resulted in BET being among the most watched and viewed for any African American television station in the history of television.
The main article continues by discussing the evolution of BET through the years. The rise of hip-hop culture and rap music, combined with the popularity of artists such as Ice Cube, 50 Cent, J. Cole, and others, have helped broaden the target audience for BET programming. Hip-hop and rap are among the most profitable genres of programming available in pay per view television. The company has capitalized on this by producing popular music videos and producing and airing award winning shows that are regularly viewed by millions of Americans.
The primary focus of this article is examining the evolution of BET since it was initially launched. Throughout my research, I found that although BET initially catered to a predominantly African American audience, my experience has been that the company has expanded its offerings to include a wider range of audiences from all backgrounds and ages. I personally would like to see greater emphasis on expanding the variety of formats that BET provides its viewers. If you are an African American or Latino, I would encourage you to check out the vast archive of bet hip-hop videos that I have located in my website.