BET.com, the content portal started by BET Holdings II and aimed at African-Americans, launched on Monday, along with a supporting $8 million advertising campaign and marketing effort that leverages the BET media properties.
Although BET Holdings II is the majority owner, Microsoft Corp., Liberty Digital, News Corp., and USA Network are also participants in the joint venture to create and operate BET.com.
“With African Americans projected to be the fastest-growing online segment in 2000, now is the ideal time to create an online destination that gives African-American users an engaging online experience,” says Robert Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of BET Holdings and BET.com.
The company is buying $8 million of ads on network and cable television, print, radio, outdoor, promotion and online advertising.
The new site will also be marketed and promoted across all of BET Holdings’ media properties. These include Black Entertainment Television, BET on Jazz: The Jazz Channel, BET ActionPay Per View, BET International, Emerge, BET Weekend, and Heart & Soul.
“Relative to other African-American sites, we have a tremendous market advantage in our ability to integrate BET.com into BET Holdings’ programming and editorial content,” says Johnson.
The new site provides the usual content, community, and commerce tools organized into nine channels — Headlines, Money, Healthy, Food, Love Line, Lifestyles, Careers, Music, and @BET — and also organized by “zones” designed to appeal to communities of interest — Families, Professionals, Women, and Urban Life.