Byron Allen: Quiet media giant has purchased Weather Channel
Also riding high on ‘Chappaquiddick’
Carol Ozemhoya OW Contributor | 4/13/2018, midnight
Byron Allen recently made the news for two reasons: he bought the Weather Channel for a reported $300 million, and his production company, Entertainment Studios, also released a controversial film about Chappaquiddick, the story of when a Kennedy was involved in an alleged car accident in the 1960s that left one woman dead.
In recent interviews, Allen admitted that there were people that were pressuring him not to release the film.
“Chappaquiddick” apparently offers details about the accident that were previously unreleased, reports Variety.
“Unfortunately, there are some very powerful people who tried to put pressure on me not to release this movie,” Allen said. “They went out of their way to try and influence me in a negative way. I made it very clear that I’m not about the right; I’m not about the left. I’m about the truth.” At the film’s premiere at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Allen said the woman who died when then Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge in Martha’s Vineyard – Mary Jo Kopechne – was one of the ”original #MeToo victims,” and it was her time to receive justice and the truth. Many pundits believe the incident cost Ted Kennedy a run at the presidency.
Allen, 56, has been making moves in the entertainment industry for about four decades now. As a teenager, after his family relocated from Detroit to Los Angeles, he started popping up in comedy clubs, trying to make a name for himself as a stand-up comic. He was only in his teens. The recent acquisition of The Weather Channel (TWC) came from Comcast and private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, according to the Wall Street Journal. TWC is seen in about 80 million homes across the country, with an international presence as well.
Allen and his staff will have to work to keep those numbers up, as more and more people are accessing weather information via their mobile devices, and cable companies that carry TWC continue to lose customers because consumers are cutting out cable providers for streaming services instead.
Over the years, Allen has quietly built an empire of sorts when it comes to syndicated TV programming. His holdings include Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Cars.TV and others, as well as a production arm for movies and original television programming. An example of one of the shows Allen executive produced is “Funny You Should Ask,” a game show that uses comics to answer questions. Allen himself occasionally sits on the comic-filled panel. Allen says TWC is still widely distributed and especially followed by millions during weather crises, which will provide him leverage to expand his media holdings even further.
More plans for independent media
“It is a stronger relative to help pull us along,” he explained of the acquisition, adding that he plans to acquire more independent media assets to strengthen his company – Entertainment Studios – even more.
Allen is following in the footsteps of other media giants that are attempting to consolidate, such as AT&T, which is attempting to acquire DirecTV and Time Warner, which is currently under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Dept.