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Asian-Targeted Net Set for Summer Launch

Attempting to reach an underserved audience, a new digital network targeted toward 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 service that will offer acquired movies, original series, music shows and animation programming targeted toward Asian-Americans, network CEO Michael Hong said.

Hong said he’s in discussions with several MSOs to launch the network on a digital-basic tier in markets such as San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, although no MSO deals have been reached.

ImaginAsian TV already has carriage deals on broadcast stations in Las Vegas (KTVY); Ventura, Calif. (KIMG); and Denver (KKTU-DT).

The network is being offered free-of-charge to operators initially, but Hong said licensing fees could kick in after a few years.

Hong added that ImaginAsian TV will target 18- through 34-year-olds within such ethnic groups as Chinese, Korean, Indian, Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese, but the network will also appeal to 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 ImaginAsian TV’s programs will be subtitled. During primetime, however, the network will feature English-speaking hosts introducing upcoming programming in an effort to reach a mainstream audience.

ImaginAsian TV will also make about 70% of its programming available on a video-on-demand basis as part of a overall licensing deal, he added.

The network will join several other services attempting to reach the Asian-American audience, including upstart WorldAsia Television and Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.’s World Picks On Demand service.