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Sony Streaming Outlet Pure Flix, Known For ‘God’s Not Dead’ Franchise, To Merge With Great American Media; Hallmark Channel Alum Bill Abbott To Run Combined Entity

Two family-focused media companies are joining forces, with Sony-owned subscription streaming outlet Pure Flix set to merge with cable and FAST programmer Great American Media.

Great American Media operates cable networks Great American Family and Great American Living as well as FAST channel Great American Adventures. Pure Flix, known for faith-based franchises like God’s Not Dead, was acquired by Sony Pictures Television in December 2020. At the time of the deal, it had 1 million subscribers.

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Bill Abbott, the former longtime top exec at the Hallmark Channel’s media parent, who has been running Great American Media, will oversee the combined entity. He became CEO of Great American Media in 2021, about a year after exiting Hallmark after an 11-year run. His departure followed backlash over the pulling of an ad for a wedding planning company featuring a same-sex couple.

Abbott and the backers of Great American Media, who acquired assets from Discovery as the foundation of their business, have taken a page or two from the Hallmark playbook in attaining carriage in 50 million U.S. homes. Programming features original Christmas movies, rom-coms and classic series centered on “faith, family and country,” in the company’s description.

“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,” Abbott said in the announcement of the deal.  “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.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“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.”

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