US-based International Channel targets Asians

MUMBAI: As the next step in US broadcaster International Channel’s strategic evolution to focus entirely on the burgeoning Asian audience in the US, the broadcaster will undergo a

complete channel re-branding and reprogramming excercise.

One of its aims will be to include increasing its English-accessible Asian programming, to better reflect this audience. These changes will debut early in the second quarter of the year. Since the last quarter of 2004, the amount of European and Middle Eastern language programming on International Channel has been decreasing and will completely disappear in the second quarter of this year. However, International Channel Networks will continue to feature programming for these audiences, as well as more in-language Asian product, through its premium networks and On Demand services. ln December 2004 International Channel had signed licensing agreements with Mirovision a major distributor for nine Korean films and Central Park Media for seven anime titles.

International Channel Networks MD Steve Smith said, “Our goal is to create a destination network for and about Asian Americans by continuing to build on the existing channel and the success of the two-year old Asia Street programming block. International Channel Networks is uniquely positioned to relaunch and market this channel, given its expertise in the cable industry coupled with 10 plus years working locally in the Asian communities around the country.”

International Channel had first targetted the English-speaking Asian American audience when it launched its Asia Street block of primetime programming three years ago. Asia Street has consisted of films, anime, music videos and new originals aimed at a younger audience. While this type of programming will expand, Smith noted that the schedule would still offer programmes such as news and dramas that have historically aired on the channel in various Asian languages to serve the first-generation older immigrants.

The broadcaster will be helped with the re-branding process by Woo Art International a New York-based communications design and production company which was recently retained by International Channel Networks’ marketing department.

The channel’s new focus also is intended to attract new advertisers. International Channel Networks VP ad sales Bill Georges said, “With Asians being the fastest growing, most affluent and youngest ethnic group in the US, this is a highly desirable audience for advertisers and the new format for International Channel will be much simpler to understand and make it easier for advertisers to reach the entire Asian audience."

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