Sibile Marcellus·Reporter-Thu, January 28, 2021, 12:12 PM
Media mogul Byron Allen bought TheGrio from NBC Universal in 2016 when it had fewer than 1 million active users. Although it was a money-losing operation at first, Allen invested in the platform, a news website for African-Americans, viewing it as his way to help America thrive.
“Personally, I’ve lost a lot of money on TheGrio,” Allen told Yahoo Finance. “But I didn’t look at it as an investment as much as I looked at it as a way of contributing to America, and contributing to Black America to make sure that, you know, we’re all stronger because of it.”
Allen is the founder and CEO of the Allen Media Group which owns nearly a dozen cable networks, including The Weather Channel, about a dozen local TV stations, and produces more than 60 syndicated TV shows.
Under Allen’s ownership, TheGrio’s digital platform grew to reach over 10.5 million monthly active users by the summer.
“For me, it was really about making sure that we had something that was 100% African-American-owned and it was unfiltered. And it was a way to communicate with the African-American community that’s completely authentic,” said Allen. “And that’s something we’ve never achieved before. We’ve never had that in this country, something that we own 100% and you’re able to communicate how you see the world unapologetically.”
The Grio.TV reaches over 100 million U.S. households and features movies and television shows. “You’re going to start to see talk shows there and news and information,” said Allen. “[We] really just wanted it to be a place to celebrate African American excellence and to celebrate who we are. And really just every day come together and figure out how we can be better and do better, and achieve what we need to achieve to make sure that our communities are thriving.”
TheGrio.TV was launched on Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Day. Allen who bought the rights to Coretta Scott King’s autobiography “My Life with Martin Luther King,” recounted a conversation he had with King’s widow about the next hurdle America must cross in order to deliver on its promise as a nation.
“She said Byron, as Black people, we have four major challenges. Number one end slavery, number two end Jim Crow, number three achieve civil rights, and then she choked up and she said number four, the real reason they killed my Martin – achieve economic inclusion,” said Allen.