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Byron Allen is the “Allen” in Allen Media Group.
He is the founder, he is the CEO, he is the chairman, he is the face of the company (as a comic and TV host he is comfortable in front of a crowd or on-air), and he is its chief dealmaker.
On Wednesday, at Avra restaurant in midtown Manhattan, he delivered an anecdote to the assembled crowd of media buyers, reporters and AMG employees, that exemplifies his approach to doing business.
Allen recalled receiving a text message out of the blue on the Friday before President’s Day Weekend.
“And the text said, ‘I’m no longer in business with WarnerMedia. Have your people call my people, Judge Mathis,” Allen recalled. “I called him up and I said Greg, I am my people.”
“They are about to tell the world that they canceled the show, all they did was a courtesy call to you to say that they’re about to cancel the show,” Allen continued. “So here’s what’s going to happen. You and I are going to do a deal immediately. So when they tell the world they’re canceling the show, we’re telling the world you’re staying on the air and we’re keeping your time period that you’ve built for nearly a quarter of a century.”
Sure enough, just days after the news leaked that Warner Bros. Discovery was canceling Judge Mathis and The People’s Court, Allen announced that Mathis wasn’t going anywhere. He would have a new show distributed by AMG. A few weeks later People’s Court judge Marilyn Milian joined the company to host her own show as well.
“WarnerMedia is the gift that keeps on giving,” Allen joked to the crowd, noting that his company now dominates the daytime syndicated legal show space.
Allen built AMG out of a syndicated TV business, so it’s an area he knows well. But in recent years, it has expanded from being a producer and distributor of programming to an owner of platforms as well. AMG acquired The Weather Channel in 2018, and began acquiring local TV stations in 2019. Most recently Allen threw his hat in the ring as a potential buyer of Paramount’s BET.
And on Wednesday he gave no indication of slowing down.
“We plan to buy more [local TV stations], we really like that. We’re going to buy more cable networks,” Allen said. “We’re very acquisitive. We’re going to buy whatever we can that makes sense. I will say we are truly aggressive when it comes to acquisitions. If it’s for sale — if it’s a lemonade stand — we want to buy it. It has to have a video monitor, it just can’t be lemonade, it has to have a video monitor so we can program that.”
Allen also had one bit of news to share during the upfront presentation. In between panels of Weather Channel talent and his new lineup of TV judges, Allen revealed that AMG would be joining the search for another TV currency, and that it had cut a deal with the measurement firm VideoAmp to sell during the 2023-2024 upfront, starting with The Weather Channel.
“Nielsen does a horrible job,” Allen said of the measurement firm that has long dominated the sector. “It’s out of control and it doesn’t work.”
And while other upfronts seek to persuade buyers with concerts and whiz-bang live stage productions, Allen delivered a more personal touch, ending the program by asking the crowd to buy into his vision.
“We have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of folks out there that have made promises and we’re going to help them live up to those promises,” Allen said. “Now’s the time to not just promise, it’s actually time to do it, increase those allocations. That’s important. Lean in on the sponsorships. That’s important. Increase the investment.”
“We can’t deposit excuses,” Allen concluded. “There’s no bank in the world where you can deposit excuses, pledges and promises.”
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