Roland Martin Launches Black-Owned OTT Platform, Will Develop More Original Content

Roland Martin Launches Black-Owned OTT Platform, Will Develop More Original Content


Roland Martin Launches Blacked-Owned OTT Platform, Will Develop More Original Content Photo: Roland Martin attends the premiere of Dave Chappelle's untitled documentary during the closing night celebration for the 20th Tribeca Festival, at Radio City Music Hall, on June 19, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Veteran journalist Roland Martin has been applauded for launching the Black Star Network (BSN), a new, hybrid, over-the-top media service targeting African American viewers that bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite TV and is available directly to viewers via the internet.

Some over-the-top (OTT) media services have adopted a hybrid approach, offering both a free, ad-supported format as well as a premium subscription offering, Bright Cove reported.

Martin has been providing news and information from “an unapologetically” Black perspective for the past three years via his daily digital show #RolandMartinUnfiltered. Black Star Network debuted with original content on Sept. 3, the third anniversary of #RolandMartinUnfiltered. Black Star Network plans to continue to developing more original content.

BSN is one of the only 100-percent Black-owned OTT networks targeting African American consumers with politics, news, and culture content, according to a press release from BSN.

Twitter users expressed excitement about Black Star Network being OTT.

“Congrats on the new stream. Downloaded to support. Really hoping you put aside petty beefs and bridge gaps with the entire community. Even the ones you don’t like,” Show @DaBigShow52 tweeted.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?

Writer Exavier Pope, VP Finance NABJ Sports, tweeted, “Congratulations! Sorely needed and welcomed”.


BSN is subscription-free and ad-supported. The network will stream content focused on political, business, and cultural insights and perspectives of Black thought leaders, influencers, and opinion-makers. It will initially provide five hours of original content per day, and by December, plans to increase to eight hours, according to the press release.

“African Americans are voracious news and information consumers, and they are demanding more content from their perspective that address issues that they care about,” said Martin, a digital pioneer who launched the first Black news source audio and video podcasts more than a decade ago.

“We’ve proven over the last three years that Black women, men, and children desire culturally relevant content from a Black-owned media company. We have traveled all over the country covering a variety of big news stories, and Black Star Network will allow us to further expand our footprint,” Martin said.

Before Martin ventured out on his own, his career was stalled by controversy.

Martin was suspended from CNN in 2012 as a political analyst over tweets deemed offensive against LGBTQ. Critics said the tweets appeared to call for violence against gay people. Martin apologized. In 2016, Martin allegedly leaked questions on a CNN town hall he was moderating to former Democratic National Convention Chairwoman Donna Brazile, who then leaked them to Hillary Clinton.