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Viacom's black cable network Bet turns 25

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MUMBAI: What first began as the dream of African-American entrepreneur Robert Johnson has now reached a historic milestone.

Media conglomerate Viacom has announced that its cable network Black Entertainment Television (Bet) in the US is celebrating its 25th anniversary

In 1980 the technological "switch" was flipped to create Bet as the first channel of its kind in history. Bet's first telecast was a black film presentation A Visit to a Chief's Son. Since then, Bet has grown from a few hours of programming on weekends to a 24-hour channel.

It claims to reach more than 79 million homes in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. Its repertoire includes music, news, comedy, drama and public affairs broadcasts.

Bet president and COO Debra Lee said, "This will be a major celebration of our success with new original programming, vignettes, entertainment specials, contests and other surprises. Everything culminates this fall with a Bet 25th Anniversary televised special comparable in excitement and glamour to our popular Bet Awards show."

BET has also rolled out a new logo and on-screen graphic as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations. Incorporated into the new brand identity is the tagline It's My Thing.

Bet states that its signature star logo has been refined to give it a more pronounced, contemporary look. The star has been shifted from the left to the right of the BET lettering to ensure that the primary focus is not on stars or celebrities, but rather the network's most important asset -- its viewers.

The identity makeover is being supported by a range of on-air and off-air creative tactics. These include new print collateral; business cards and corporate stationery; and various technical treatments to Bet's televised programming, network identifications and logo animation.

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