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So we went to the BET presentation on 5th Feb 2009...

We were there to hear what BET and Glen Yearwood, (apparently the person responsible for BET happening in the UK), ably supported by one of our industry’s media veterans, Roy Francis, had to say.

On the plus side, the omens are good:

  • The first-ever international act on BET’s flagship gospel show Celebration Of Gospel, was our very own Muyiwa.
  • After a relatively quiet launch in the UK about 12 months ago, viewing figures (according to the numbers Glen was quoting us) were heading in the right direction as far as the channel’s growth was concerned.
  • And there was more good news on offer; BET was looking to commission more local programming, so in the coming months the channel should look less like a US outpost and more like it actually belongs here.

Taking us seriously…

Furthermore, BET took the UK gospel scene seriously enough to actually put on this presentation

So it’s all good in the hood…

Ah, but you know me too well. I always look for the cloud around the silver lining.

I’m also ever so happy to break out the magnifying glass and have a rummage around the gift horse’s oral cavity…

I don’t believe in cynicism for the sake of it, but I left the presentation with a few unanswered questions, chief of which was: ‘what’s in it for us…?

We’ve been here before.

Sure, advertising on BET gets your church/product/service a wider audience, but what’s really in it for us?  Wider exposure in return for your money into BET’s account?

Erm, thanks but no thanks.  Not just yet.  Question is: are there things in the UK that are just as worthy of investing in…?  Discuss.

International influence

I ain’t hating on BET.  From what I can see (and I have to admit to not watching a lot of the channel) they’ve effectively taken US Black culture and packaged it such that the Diaspora has fallen in love with it.

All you have to do is check the millions wannabe hood dudes and gangsters from Lagos to Trenchtown on millions of African and other Black TV channels to see the BET (or is that MTV) effect on world Black culture.

I mean, why would anyone be looking to wear heavy winter fashion in the tropics???

‘Push first, ask questions later…’

To their credit BET has also pushed UK gospel via the Muyiwa feature on a truly global scale.  They didn’t have to.  They could have made the pitch first and waited for our response.

If I wanted to be harsh, I’d say that kind of  ‘push first, ask questions later’ attitude is certainly more than we’re doing at the moment,  but I don’t, so I won’t…

I still want more, however.

I want the steak of effective engagement (rather than just us being encouraged to take out advertising on BET), rather than the sizzle of the shiny BET logo…  Surely we have the people and skills to engage with BET at that kind of level..?

And so what if I mix my metaphors…?

(More like this?  See ‘Sold Down The River – With Our Own Boat‘)