BROADCASTERS ROLL, REBRAND ASIAN CHANNELS

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In a major development for advertisers trying to reach Asian-Americans, broadcasters launched another Asian-language network and the existing International Channel Networks is rebranding as an all-Asian cable format.

ImaginAsian TV, backed by a group of independent investors, features 24-hour programming with English subtitles. It targets second-generation Asian-Americans who don't speak the language but are interested in the culture and media of their families' native lands, said Michael Huh, VP-marketing and strategic development.

"They have to gain wide distribution in the top Asian areas of the country," said Saul Gitlin, exec VP-strategic services at WPP Group's Kang & Lee, New York. "There has been a lot of buzz about reaching acculturated, English-dominant Asians who have not been reached through in-language programming. They can be successful if they can prove to advertisers who they are reaching."

After launching Aug. 30 in eight markets, ImaginAsian TV expects to add San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles within six months and sign its first advertisers this month. Mr. Huh said he'll push the 20 advertisers on the iatv.tv Web site-such as Apple Computer, American Express Co. and Wal-Mart Stores-to expand their buys to TV.

The International Channel, formerly a global programmer, will switch to an all-Asian format, with more dubbed and subtitled programs, in 2005. Managing Director Steve Smith said the 12 million-strong Asian market, accounting for 4.2% of the U.S. population and an average income of $55,000 "is undervalued and underappreciated."

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