Whoopi Goldberg–backed BLKFAM launches with 1,000+ hours of kids’ programming

BLKFAM is a free, ad-supported, Black-focused family streaming service launching today to give Black Americans access to more than 1,000 hours of new kid-friendly animation titles, as well as content for the entire family, including sitcoms and reality shows, fitness and wellness series, news, music-driven content and more.

Whoopi Goldberg is an equity investor in BLKFAM and will also be the creative director. There are 10 new original live-action and animated series currently in development, which are expected to roll out throughout 2024.

"I'm excited to be involved with BLKFAM from the ground floor. I’m proud to be a part of something my great-grandkids can enjoy, and see characters who look like them onscreen, created by people who look like them, for them," Goldberg said in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

BLKFAM considers its platform the first and only Black-owned and Black-focused family streaming service. The company’s goal is to serve Black audiences who often feel misrepresented or underrepresented in mainstream media even though it’s the demographic that watches the most TV. According to Nielsen, Black audiences consume over 81 hours of media on a weekly basis. Plus, 80% of Black Americans use free over-the-top services, compared to 69% of all consumers, per Horowitz Research.

BLKFAM aims to release content that “entertains, educates, and celebrates Black American family-friendly content,” the company wrote in its press release. Instead of following rival streamers that take the “more is better” approach, BLKFAM is curating a collection with inclusive stories that hopefully spark discussion from the audience. The company has teamed up with content partners Playwatch Kids and Candle Media’s ATTN to deliver educational shows like “Kembe,” “Gabby Galactic and the Orbiteens” and “12th Street,” among others.

The company also believes its co-viewing strategy — providing content that appeals to the entire family rather than individual age groups -- will help it stand out from competitors.

“Professionally deeply understanding the streaming landscape, I knew there was a gap in co-viewing platforms,” founder Larry Adams, former chief brand officer for HBO Max, tells us. “But as a Black parent, when my kids and I would sit down to watch a movie or share a show, the options for families to watch together were mixed together with adult-oriented content. The content that was targeted to Black audiences was not necessarily created from the point of view of wholesome family co-viewing.”

“We know that families watch together and only resort to separated viewing experiences when there are limited options,” adds Adams, who also helped launch DirecTV Now in 2016, AT&T’s live TV streaming service.

BLKFAM is now available on Amazon Prime Video Channels, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, YouTube TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Vizio, LG, and iOS and Android devices.