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Korean Channel Targets L.A.

International Channel Networks is adding, what else, an international channel.

It has agreed to invest in Television Korea 24 (tvK24) which will launch in and from Los Angeles in fourth quarter 2004, home to the largest Korean community outside the country itself. Next in their sites will be New York, then Washington.

The channel's principals have been in negotiations with Comcast, which serves the Korean community, for 8-10 months, according to channel co-founder William (Billy) Kelly. Kelly is former president of Turner Broadcasting in North Asia and handled Asian distribution for CNBC as well. His partner is media banker Eric Yoon.

The channel is a Korean-language digital basic cable (or satellite) network featuring news, dramas, movies, sports, business, health, music, children's, and game shows, all in Korean, though selected shows will have English subtitles.

Kelly says it will be mostly acquired product at first, with more original co-productions increasingly added to the mix. It will not simply be a repackaging of existing Korean services, he says. "We've cherry picked output deals with Korean channels." ICN's stake will be a minority, noncontrolling interest, says Kelly.

ICN is 90% owned by Liberty media's Starz Encore and 10% owned by Starz Encore founder John Sie

ICN will handle national ad sales, while tvK24 staffers will sell local accounts.

The channel will originate in L.A., then likely be delivered via fiber to Denver and from their uploaded onto Galaxy 11 for satellite delivery as a national service.