Sony Pictures Entertainment and its faith-based streaming service, Pure Flix, are joining forces with Great American Media, a new cable channel that rivals the Hallmark Channel.
According to a press release shared with The Christian Post, this collaboration will allow Pure Flix’s faith-based content to reach traditional TV viewers and enhance the programming lineup of GAM’s TV networks, namely Great American Family and Great American Living.
Both Pure Flix and GAM will share content across their respective platforms as part of this agreement, pending its closure. Pure Flix, which costs $7.99 a month and has approximately 1 million subscribers, features content such as the “God’s Not Dead” film franchise and the popular series “The Chosen.”
GAM President and CEO Bill Abbott will serve as CEO of the merged entity, reporting to the company’s board of directors.
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“In a media environment where programming and distribution business models are in a constant state of flux, this agreement provides a rare opportunity to maximize our potential with the expertise, market knowledge and content creation capabilities of a world class partner like Sony Pictures,” said Abbott, according to the press release.
“This merger will allow us to further our commitment to original, quality content and makes Great American Media and Pure Flix leaders in a large and under-served market.”
“Family-friendly entertainment remains an important segment of the industry, and merging these two entities will create the greatest opportunity to achieve more scale for Pure Flix as it continues to build its subscriber base,” said Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures.
“Bill and the Great American Media team have been successfully leading the Great American Family and Great American Living brands, and we believe they have a winning plan to take Pure Flix to even greater heights.”
Abbott formerly was the CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, the parent company of the Hallmark Channel. He left Hallmark in 2020 after controversy surrounding commercials featuring a same-sex wedding ceremony. In December, Hallmark released its first movie featuring a gay couple.
Last year, GAC Media announced it had hired Hallmark veteran Candace Cameron Bure to develop, produce and star in movies and television shows. Bure is also the chief creative officer with Great American Family.
“I’m very excited to develop heartwarming family and faith-filled programming and make the kind of stories my family and I love to watch,” continued Bure in a statement at the time, Deadline reported.
“I am constantly looking for ways that I can inspire people to live life with purpose. GAC fits my brand perfectly; we share a vision of creating compelling, wholesome content for an audience who wants to watch programming for and with the whole family. Great, quality entertainment with a positive message is what my partnership with GAC is all about!”
The group has also hired at least a dozen Hallmark actors and actresses for its channels, including Danica McKellar, Jen Lilley, Daniel Lissing and Jessica Lowndes.
In a March 2022 interview on Up Next with John Contratti, Abbott said he wanted his company to be “relentlessly family-friendly.”
“There’s so much need for family content and the market in this space,” he said. “It’s pretty scary, quite frankly, the amount of content that’s out there … the vast majority of content is salacious and is not appropriate for any member of the family, really.”