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BET Play launches in Australia

NewsMedia Release

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) today announced the launch of BET Play, Viacom’s first-ever direct-to-consumer, subscription video on demand (SVOD) application for the adult audience, giving fans in 100 international markets a way enjoy BET’s signature award shows, current and classic television series, documentaries, standup comedy, entertainment news and legendary musical performances.

BET Play is the only place to live stream the 2016 BET Awards on June 26.

BET Play offers fans an opportunity to watch English-language BET content on their iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as AirPlay-enabled television sets. The BET Play app features a combination of long- and short-form content, as well as a live linear feed of BET Soul, the premiere curated music video channel for lovers of soul, R&B and classic hip-hop. BET Play will also carry live feeds of BET award shows, beginning with the star-studded 2016 BET Awards, and after show featuring spectacular performances, must-see moments, outstanding talent, and exquisite music. This year’s broadcast promises to be one of the best yet, with returning hosts Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, already-announced performances by Alicia Keys, Maxwell and more, and a moving tribute to legendary musician Prince featuring performances by Sheila E., The Roots, D’Angelo and Janelle Monae.

“Black culture has, in many ways, become the world’s pop culture, and for three decades BET Networks has been at the center of it all,” said Michael D. Armstrong, Executive Vice President and General Manager, International Brand Development, Viacom International Media Networks. “BET continues to be at the forefront of music, lifestyle, entertainment and culture, and with the launch of BET Play, we’re now able to deliver that content to fans in 100 international markets.”

With an innovative, intuitive design and a user-friendly, video-first interface, BET Play offers hundreds of current long form episodes from sixteen global franchises, including Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union, Real Husbands of Hollywood starring Kevin Hart, Chasing Destiny starring Kelly Rowland, Zoe Ever After starring Brandy Norwood, and classic interviews from 106 & PARK, in addition to digital-first short-form original series such as #BLX, quick clips, musical performances, and more. BET Play is also the only place to watch live streams of BET’s tent-pole events and awards shows, including the BET Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards and the Soul Train Awards. BET Play reaches an international audience where they live – smartphones, tablets, and other digital devices – and creates a tailored experience perfect for their each of these screens.

“For people around the world who love Black culture, BET Play will enable fans to access our content when and where they want it,” said Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks. “The television and entertainment industries are changing at breakneck speed, and the desire for unique, compelling content is greater than ever,” continued Lee.

The launch of BET Play is the latest from the Viacom Play Plex suite of mobile TV apps, which offer smartphone and tablet users around the world access to the best content from all of Viacom’s international TV brands, anytime and anywhere.

First launched in the fourth quarter of 2015, the Viacom Play Plex apps are available to launch in every one of the 180 international territories in which Viacom owns and operates TV channels.  There are separate mobile Play apps for each of Viacom’s major international TV channel brands – Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Paramount Channel, Spike and BET – offering video-on-demand access to a range of current and library content, as well as a live, local linear stream of the relevant channel, and other content including games for Nick Play.  The apps can be distributed via Pay TV partners as part of an authenticated TV Everywhere experience, via mobile network operators or direct-to-consumer.

To date, Play Plex apps are available in more than 40 markets, have been downloaded more than 8 million times and streamed 150 million times.

"We've seen incredible interest in, and uptake of, our Play Plex suite of apps, which have completely exceeded our expectations,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO, Viacom International Media Networks.   “These products give our audiences the content they want, how they want it, and offer VIMN the flexibility to adapt to a particular market, partner or brand's needs.  This large-scale direct-to-consumer launch of BET Play is a great example of that – we've seen and heard a global demand for BET content from our consumers, which we can now feed across 100 markets."

BET Play is available now for download on iOS and Android devices for a subscription fee of AUD$5.99 a month. Beginning today, fans signing up for the service can experience BET Play with a seven-day trial free of charge.