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Asian Net Arrives in D.C.

AZN Television is now available in the nation’s capital.

The Asian-American-aimed network, which is owned by Comcast Corp., has been added to the MSO’s systems in the Washington, D.C., area, including suburban Maryland and Virginia. With the rollout, expected to be completed on Comcast Digital Cable by the end of September, AZN boosted its overall subscriber base to some 13 million homes, according to network officials.

The launch also gives AZN distribution in each of the nation’s top 10 Asian-American DMAs by population: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., Sacramento, Seattle and Houston are all served by Comcast; Time Warner Cable is the operator in Houston and Honolulu.

On the programming side of the ledger, AZN last week struck an output deal with Sony Pictures Television that will give it the exclusive U.S. TV rights to the next 10 Asian feature films released in the States by Sony Pictures Classics. The first film to premiere on the channel from this pact is Wong Kar Wai’s 2046, starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Li Gong and Ziyi Zhang.

Additionally, the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, provides the rights to 16 of Sony Pictures Classics’ and six of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s most notable and recent Asian films, starting next March with Shiri (1999, Korean language), followed by The Legend of Suriyothai (2003, Thai) and Big Shots (2001, Mandarin) in April 2006. Also on tap: Shower (1999, Mandarin) in May and Tokyo Godfathers (2003, English). All of the films not produced in English will be subtitled accordingly, the spokeswoman said.