The rumor was true -- BET is launching a streaming service. The newly official BET+ is due to launch in the fall and will work closely with Tyler Perry Studios to offer a host of African American-focused on-demand video to subscribers. In addition to a "curated" library of videos from BET, Viacom and Perry (expect lots of Madea), it'll also provide some online-only originals. You can expect Tracy Oliver's TV remake of the classic comedy First Wives Club, a show from Will Packer and, of course, fresh shows from Perry.
The service doesn't yet have pricing, but it will be ad-free. It should launch on Android and iOS as well as "other streaming devices" (read: set-top boxes and smart TVs). BET's free channel on Pluto TV will stick around, though it's clearly focused on back catalog material.
There is a risk that BET+ will add to the subscription fatigue affecting some internet viewers. However, BET Networks President Scott Mills is betting that his channel's service can buck that trend. African Americans are more likely to adopt streaming services than other demographics, he said, and BET+ is catering to an "underserved audience." In other words, Mills is counting on having a uniquely strong following that others are unlikely to match.