Up Entertainment Teams with Gaither TV+ and Minno for Faith and Family-Friendly Streaming Bundle

Up Entertainment Teams with Gaither TV+ and Minno for Faith and Family-Friendly Streaming Bundle

In another sign of how the pay TV marketplace is evolving, Up Entertainment is expanding its streaming offering by bundling in outlets that fit with the company’s faith and family-oriented entertainment theme.

Gospel legend Bill Gaither has teamed with Up to bring his GaitherTV+ package of gospel music and specials to the Up Faith and Family streaming platform as of next month. Also joining the Up Faith and Family bundle later this year, during the third quarter, is Minno, the indie streamer focused on content for kids that draws on the Bible and other spiritual themes.

Up Faith and Family has been available as an indie streamer since 2013, starting out with its G Movies service and rebranding to Up Faith and Family in 2018. The service has about 1.4 million subscribers at present. Charley Humbard, founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Up Entertainment, sees the expansion as a natural fit for Up Entertainment as well as consumers. He has a five-year target of reaching as many as 15 million-20 million subscribers with the broader offering that has something for older audiences as well as the youngest members of the household.

“The nice thing is we’ve been able to diversify our business,” Humbard told Variety. “We started early enough and we’ve had time to figure out a lot about the market for subscription streaming before there was real pressure. We started growing in 2018 at a rapid rate.”

Charley Humbard Up EntertainmentCharley Humbard Up Entertainment

Up Entertainment CEO Charley Humbard

The flagship Up Entertainment cable channel still reaches nearly 50 million cable households by traditional linear distribution. Up’s companion network Aspire still has linear distribution of around 40 million households. Those channels provide steady cash flow that has allowed Up Entertainment to grow. Humbard is well aware that those linear distribution numbers will shrink over the long-term given the impact of cord-cutting. Like larger studio rivals, Up Entertainment’s push to bundle multiple channels into its offering is a means of driving more engagement with subscribers and reducing churn.

Up Entertainment remains privately held. Producer Larry Levinson is one of Humbard’s partners in the venture.

“We’re happy to be 20 years in business. It’s tough out there for an independent,” Humbard said. “We’ve gone through so much. It’s like we were selling wagons and then all of a sudden it’s 1910 and there are cars going by on the road. We got into the streaming business without completely losing our wagon business.”

With the GaitherTV+ and Minno pacts, Humbard is eager to see how Up’s target audience responds to a diversified offering. Up’s research has found that there are about 60 million consumers in the U.S. who identify as “seeking uplifting programming services that align with their values.” That gives Up plenty of runway.

“We’re like Netflix without all the dark stuff,” Humbard joked. “We have documentaries, dramas, comedies, kids shows — everything Netflix has and it’s all uplifting.”

Gaither’s library of musical series and specials will be catnip to the Up audience, Humbard predicted.

“We had no idea when we began recording videos where mass media and communication would one day be,” said Gaither.  “It is exciting to see our decades of performances and songs become available to folks far and wide through the work that Up Entertainment is doing. Their emphasis on uplifting, family-friendly entertainment compliments our mission to offer daily encouragement and eternal hope through Gospel music.”

Minno, based in Nashville, launched in 2018 with largely animated content.

“Our mission has always been to support families’ spiritual journey by providing engaging, imaginative content that sparks curiosity about God and the Bible,” said Erick Goss, Minno CEO and co-founder. “Joining this bundle allows us to reach even more families, offering them a safe, enriching viewing experience that aligns with Up Entertainment’s commitment to uplifting, family-friendly programming.”

Up Faith and Family will remain advertising-free. The monthly price for the bundle will be $9.99, or $99 a year, compared to $5.99 for the Up package at present. Up, GaitherTV+ and Minno will also remain available for a la carte purchases.

“While other streamers are raising prices and inserting ads, we’re thrilled to be able to partner with trusted brands like Gaither Music and Minno to provide quality, uplifting entertainment ad-free for an affordable price,” said Philip Manwaring, Up Entertainment’s head of streaming.

(Pictured: Actor Dennis Quaid performs on a GaitherTV+ special)

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