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Stephen Hill on BET Experience Vs. Essence Festival

Stephen Hill

The BET Awards are a pretty big deal. Not only is the annual ceremony honoring the best in music, sports and entertainment a ratings juggernaut, but the live broadcast also has a tendency to take over social media on the night it airs. And the network is stepping things up once again for this year’s event, which airs Sunday, June 30 at 8pm ET — the whole thing will be open to the public with special concerts, events and seminars dubbed the BET Experience.

Wait — isn’t that a lot like the Essence Festival?

For its latest So What Do You Do? interview, Mediabistro spoke with Stephen Hill, BET president of of programming and specials about the eerie similarities:

How much did Essence‘s success inspire yours, and are there any concerns that the two events might cannibalize each other?
The BET Experience is really built around the BET Awards, because the BET Awards has been airing on the last week of June for the last 10, 11, 12 years or so. People would come out to L.A. for the BET Awards without a ticket. They just wanted to be around the atmosphere, and it just became a magnet event, just the awards show. So, what we did was organize what was already organic. Take the energy that’s already coming here, add some stuff to it and invite more people and make it the BET Experience. I don’t think we would do this outside of the energy that’s already been generated around the BET Awards.

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Stephen Hill, BET President of Programming and Specials?

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