CodeBlack Expands Across Media Platforms

If growing complimentary businesses with different revenue streams is the goal to expand the market reach of CodeBlack Enterprise L.L.C., which already represents many of the top-tier films that run through the African American film festivals, then Jeff Clanagan, CEO, is in the right frame of mind.

CodeBlack Entertainment, the film, production, and distribution subsidiary of CodeBlack Enterprises, has for years produced and distributed videos for BET, TV One, and many independent filmmakers. Now that the company’s digital arm, CodeBlack Interactive, has been up and running since Dec. 3, the company has a better opportunity to put African American entertainment into the hands of a broader audience.

The site, which is broken up into two components, will feature CodeBlackTV, on-demand video from the CB Entertainment proprietary catalog, and the CodeBlackStore that retails more than 4,000 black book titles and 2,000 urban DVDs online, culled from major studios, publishers, and independent suppliers.

“We will be giving a portion (a minimum ranging from 5 cents to 25 cents) of every book and DVD sold to our scholarship foundation,” says Clanagan who hopes to begin selling downloadable digital items both on the film side as well as the book side.

To provide the infrastructure for CodeBlackTV, Clanagan has partnered with a Comcast subsidiary, Theplatform, a video management and publishing company, for broadband, mobile, and TV, explains Quincy Newell, president of CodeBlack Interactive.

In addition to, the company also signed a new joint venture with a leading black publishing company to produce two movies. The first movie released under the new license agreement Barack Obama: The Man and His Journey will be released on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. The other, Why we Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy, directed by Robert Townsend, will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 17 in Utah.

In an effort to adapt a 360-degree business model that connects all of their platforms, CodeBlack will begin shooting a made-for-TV movie adaptation of the book Let the Church Say Amen by popular fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley. CB Entertainment will then release a gospel soundtrack and stage play later that year in conjunction with Amen, which will be actress Regina King’s feature directorial debut.

“We’re going into the live entertainment business in much the same way that Disney does the High School Musical movies and then takes the show on the road,” Clanagan says.

“We look to find properties that already have a base and a following. It makes it much easier to market the movie, the play, and the soundtrack because people will already be familiar with her other works. If we can tap into her base it gives us a broader audience to market the properties.