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Attempting to reach an underserved audience, a new network targeted to the Asian-American community is set to launch this summer.

New York-based ImaginAsian Entertainment Inc. is planning a late August launch of ImaginAsian TV, an advertiser-supported digital service that will offer acquired movies, original series, music shows and animation programming targeted to Asian-Americans, said network CEO Michael Hong.

ImaginAsian TV joins several other channels attempting to reach the Asian-American audience, including the upstart WorldAsia Television and Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.'s World Picks On Demand service.

Hong said he's in discussions with several MSOs to launch the network on digital basic in such markets as San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, although he hasn't reached any deals with operators.

The network already has secured part-time carriage on broadcast stations in Las Vegas (KTVY), Ventura, Calif. (KIMG) and Denver (KKTU-DT).

ImaginAsian TV will initially be offered free to operators, but Hong said licensing fees could kick in after a few years.

Hong said the network will target 18-to 34-year-olds, whose ethnic roots trace to China, Korea, India, Japan, the Phillipines or Vietnam, while also attracting mainstream viewers.

"We believe the network will appeal to the general public's fascination with Asian entertainment, cuisine, personalities and culture," he said.

Given the fact that 85% of Asian-Americans want to view programming in their own language, Hong said most of the network's programs will be subtitled. During primetime, however, the network will feature English-speaking hosts introducing upcoming programming in an effort to tap that mainstream audience.

The network is also willing to make about 70% of its programming available on a video-on-demand basis within its overall licensing deals, Hong said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.