SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- RLJ Entertainment, Inc., (NASDAQ: RLJE), created by Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and The RLJ Companies and Chairman of RLJ Entertainment, today announced the launch of UMC - Urban Movie Channel ("UMC"), RLJE's proprietary digital channel. UMC will feature urban-themed movies as an alternative to conventional subscription-based channels by showcasing the best drama, documentaries, comedies, horror, and stage plays.
Commenting on UMC's launch, Robert Johnson said, "As founder of BET, I have gained a deep understanding and knowledge about the African American and urban consumer and the entertainment content that appeals to them. UMC was designed so that the African American and urban creative community could directly reach consumers in a way that removes many of the restrictions associated with the legacy content development and distribution models. As more video is consumed over broadband, we believe that we can quickly become the preeminent provider of quality urban entertainment to what has largely been an underserved, yet highly engaged audience. I am convinced that urban consumers will gravitate to the economic and entertainment value proposition of UMC and that the creative community will embrace UMC as the best way to reach their loyal fans and benefit financially from showcasing their outstanding work product."
Programs previously released by RLJE under the One Village brand will be incorporated into UMC's library, which will also include titles from RLJE's existing Image independent feature film line. UMC will launch with a free trial period for subscribers through February 4, 2015 and with a suggested retail price of $4.99/month or $49.99/year thereafter, but with a special limited time introductory pricing of $2.99/month or $29.99/year to start.
Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJE stated, "As one of the largest independent distributors of entertainment content with nascent propriety streaming channels like Acorn TV, we are uniquely positioned to fulfill the vision of our chairman and deliver to the urban audience an unprecedented library of high quality video content. We are confident in RLJE's ability to acquire, distribute, and monetize existing and original content that will appeal to the urban community across the growing number of distribution platforms."
Among the titles launching are live stand-up performances featuring Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx, and Charlie Murphy; documentaries Dark Girls and I Ain't Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; the feature films All Things Fall Apart starring 50 Cent, Mario Van Peebles, and Ray Liotta; and The Suspect starring Mekhi Phifer. Bestsellers include the stage play production of What My Husband Doesn't Know by David E. Talbert. UMC can be found at: www.urbanmoviechannel.com.
Traci Otey Blunt joins RLJE as Corporate Executive Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs and will oversee the company's marketing, public relations and investor relations, as well as the promotion of the UMC channel. For the last six years, Traci served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at The RLJ Companies, the holding company which formed RLJ Entertainment. Prior to RLJ, Traci served as a national deputy communications director and director of African American media for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign.
"Traci has been with The RLJ Companies since 2008 and has been responsible for all corporate communications, public relations and government affairs," said Johnson. "She has proven to be an invaluable executive in promoting and executing the business goals and objectives of The RLJ Companies and its portfolio companies, and I believe appointing her to RLJE as Corporate EVP to perform these functions, as well as focus heavily on the marketing and promotion of UMC is an ideal fit."
"I am confident that with Traci joining the RLJE management team, her expertise will be beneficial to the company as a whole and help our strategic launch of UMC," said Penella. "She will promote the channel and grow its subscriber base by building new and cultivating existing relationships which will ultimately have a strong impact on RLJE's digital platforms," he concluded.
RLJ Entertainment is a leading creator, owner and distributor of media content across digital, broadcast and physical platforms. The Company leverages its branding expertise, access to content and direct to consumer skills to optimize the value of its programs for distinct audiences.
RLJ Entertainment is focused on driving growth through the development of interest-based entertainment services for targeted audiences in niche genres including British television, urban, action/thriller, horror, comedy, and fitness, by using new technologies to deliver that content to consumers.
RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) is a premier independent owner, developer, licensee and distributor of entertainment content and programming in primarily North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. RLJE is a leader in numerous genres via its owned and distributed brands such as Acorn (British TV), Image (feature films, stand-up comedy), UMC (urban), Acacia (fitness), Athena (documentaries), and Madacy (gift sets). These titles are distributed in multiple formats including broadcast television (including satellite and cable), theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-Ray, digital download, and digital streaming.
Via its relationship with Agatha Christie Limited, a company that RLJE owns 64% of, RLJE manages the intellectual property and publishing rights to some of the greatest works of mystery fiction, including stories of the iconic sleuths Miss Marple and Poirot. RLJE also owns all rights to the hit UK mystery series Foyle's War.
RLJE leverages its management experience to acquire, distribute and monetize existing and original content for its many distribution channels, including its branded digital subscription channels, Acorn TV and Acacia TV, and engages distinct audiences with programming that appeals directly to their unique viewing interests. Through its proprietary e-commerce web sites and print catalogs for the Acorn and Acacia brands, RLJE has direct contacts and billing relationships with millions of consumers.
UMC - Urban Movie Channel is a premium subscription-based streaming service exclusive to RLJ Entertainment, Inc., and is devoted to the development, production, and acquisition of feature films, comedy specials, stage plays, documentaries, music, and entertainment for the African American and urban audience. Launched initially in 2007 as One Village Entertainment, UMC titles are distributed across multiple platforms that range from theatrical, broadcast, Blu-ray™/DVD, digital streaming and downloading and features may be watched online or from any mobile device. www.urbanmoviechannel.com
Forward Looking Statements This press release may include "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Other than statements of historical fact, all statements made in this press release are forward-looking, including, but not limited to, statements regarding industry prospects, future results of operations or financial position, and statements of our intent, belief and current expectations about our strategic direction, prospective and future results and condition. In some cases, forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "will," "should," "could," "may," "might," "expect," "plan," "possible," "potential," "predict," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "continue," "future," "intend," "project" or similar words.
Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that are inherently difficult to predict, which could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from our expectations, forecasts and assumptions. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to:
Our financial performance, including our ability to achieve revenue growth and Adjusted EBITDA or realize synergies;
The effects of limited cash liquidity on operational growth;
Our ability to satisfy financial ratios;
Our ability to fund planned capital expenditures and development efforts;
Our inability to gauge and predict the commercial success of our programming;
Our ability to estimate sales returns;
The ability of our officers and directors to generate a number of potential investment opportunities;
Our ability to maintain relationships with customers, employees, suppliers and lessors;
Delays in the release of new titles or other content;
The effects of disruptions in our supply chain;
The loss of key personnel;
Our public securities' limited liquidity and trading; or
Our ability to continue to meet the NASDAQ Capital Market continuing listing standards.
You should carefully consider and evaluate all of the information in this press release, including the risk factors listed above and in our Form 10-K filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (or SEC), including "Item 1A. Risk Factors." If any of these risks occur, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be harmed, the price of our common stock could decline and you may lose all or part of your investment, and future events and circumstances could differ significantly from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Unless otherwise required by law, we undertake no obligation to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such forward-looking statements that may reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release. Readers are referred to the most recent reports filed with the SEC by RLJ Entertainment. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.