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, 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.
Pending regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, Great American Media, led by president and CEO Bill Abbott, will retain a controlling stake in the merged company, with Abbott as CEO, and oversee day-to-day management of all multi-channel family and faith media brands.
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.
Bringing Pure Flix and Great American Media aims to secure scale among TV viewers of family and faith-based religious entertainment. “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 in a statement.
“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.
Sony Pictures Television acquired Pure Flix in December 2020 and the streamers has near to 1 million subscribers across North America. Great American Family reaches into around 50 million homes.
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.
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.”