Urban One: New Name, Bigger Business

by Paula Hendrickson  |  05.11.2017

After a two-year rebranding effort, the 36-year old media giant known as Radio One is now officially Urban One, Inc. The new name was chosen because “urban” encompasses and symbolizes black culture while “one” honors the company’s past and reinforced the company’s position as first in class.

As the nation’s largest African-American owned multimedia company, Urban One feels it understands what its various audiences love, and the rebrand ensures its brands and platforms—now encompassing TV One, Radio One, Reach Media, iONE Digital, One Solution, R1 Digital and One VIP—are poised to thrive in the digital age.

Some of the biggest changes may be on the television side.

“It’s no longer satisfactory for TV to be linear solely,” says D’Angela Proctor, SVP of original programming and production, TV One. “Because we are a content business, we need to be platform agnostic and meet our audiences where they are with the tentacles of our content.”

Toward that end, Proctor is giving viewers more of what they love: additional live programming, a second night of true crime, and more “real” shows like the popular Rickey Smiley For Real, and The Roland Martin Show, while simultaneously building a robust social media space. For instance, Facebook video posts from Martin’s show routinely earn millions of views, wth one video peaking at 12.6 million views.

Going forward, Proctor has a three-pronged approach to bridge the divide between linear and digital viewing: live streaming; next-day viewing of recent episodes, movies, and specials; and access to an entire library of video content.

All branches of the integrated Urban One empire are committed to offering quality digital content: iONE Digital has become the largest black content digital content provider thanks to strategic acquisitions of BHM Digital—and its successful Bossip.com, Hip Hop Wired, and Madame Noir websites— and the creation of the new millennial lifestyle platform Cassius.

Urban One’s diversified portfolio also boasts a full-service in-house branded content agency, One Solution, and extends into gaming and financial services.

The synergy among all of Urban One’s businesses has helped make the re-branding as seamless as possible.

“The beauty of being an integrated multimedia company is that every business comes to the table with its expertise and audience to rally behind a message—in this case the renaming of Urban One,” says Yashima White AziLove, VP of corporate Communications, Urban One. “None of our entities did more than the other. They simple all put their piece down to complete the puzzle and unveil our masterpiece, Urban One, Inc.”

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