SHOxBET is a multiplex channel with a mix of series, feature films and documentaries. Its programming is designed to take advantage of its appeal to Black viewers for a number of Showtime series, which matches the longtime mission of BET. The two networks joined the same corporate family last December with the close of the ViacomCBS merger.
Starting Wednesday, the new channel takes the place of Showcase in the Showtime portfolio. (Genre-oriented SHO Beyond is also being phased out as a result of the co-branding effort.) Multiplexing began about two decades ago as a way to take advantage of improved pay-TV bandwidth to offer multiple channels of the same premium service.
SHOxBET will have replays of Showtime originals on the same night as their linear premiere on the main network, with titles including The Chi, Black Monday and Desus & Mero. Library series like House of Lies and Sleeper Cell are included, as are movie titles like Waves and Back to the Goode Life from BET. Boxing and stand-up comedy specials are also in the new programming mix.
Bakish, speaking last February on an earnings call, said the initiative is one of many attempts at synergy taking place across the company. “We see an even bigger opportunity to grow Showtime subscribers by making better use of its plex channels, some of which are currently underutilized,” he said.