Disney Channel to debut on DTH service in Korea 1 June

Mickey Mouse is coming to Korea. Come 1 June, viewers in Seoul will be able to tune into the antics of Disney's rodent on television. The Disney Channel will be carried on Korean DTH service provider, Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (KDB) on channel 654 under the "Skylife" brandname.

KDB president & CEO Hyeon-Dew Kang, and Walt Disney Television International managing director for branded television - Asia Pacific - Jon Niermann had earlier signed an agreement sealing the deal on 9 April.

Making the announcement of the 1 June debut, Walt Disney Television International president David Hulbert said: "Korea is a market that shows tremendous potential for growth in the cable and satellite industry. This is an important step in expanding our presence throughout the region."

The Korean Broadcasting Commission granted Disney Channel approval as a foreign re-transmission channel early this year. Negotiations between KDB and Disney began in the middle of 2001 and culminated in an agreement recently. On 1 March 2002, KDB launched its Skylife service with a ceremony held in Seoul which was attended by Korean President Kim Dae Jung. Disney Channel has offered KDB customers a "preview" channel since 26 March. With Disney launching, KDB expects Skylife to reach 500,000 Korean households by December 2002.

Disney Channel Asia, which is headed by managing director Raymund Miranda, is now available in five countries around the region: Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. It was launched in January 2000 and is a multi-language feed with both dubbing and subtitling in Mandarin, and a main feed in English. The Korean feed will be broadcast in English with Korean subtitles.

The Asian television service is available in seven countries in the Asia Pacific region: Australia, Korea, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. The Korean feed will be broadcast in English with Korean subtitles.

Disney branded programs are broadcast on local free-to-air networks in 12 countries around the region, reaching a total audience of 300 million in the Asia-Pacific.

In India Disney programming is watched on Sony Entertainment Television, Eenadu TV, and Doordarshan. Disney which normally takes time to enter a new country, has been studying a foray into India with its 24-hour service for the past three to four years but has held back because its cable TV networks are not truly addressable. It has recently applied to the country's foreign investment promotion board for clearance to get into broadcasting activities.

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