ICN Adds Chinese Net9/26/1999 8:00 PM Eastern
Chinese Television Network, programmed primarily with
Mandarin-language news and variety programs, will soon join the digital suite of
programming marketed by International Channel Networks.
The CTN service, headquartered in Hong Kong, is currently
available in the United States as a direct-to-home service transmitted from Telstar 5.
But through its partnership with ICN -- which is 90
percent-owned by Liberty Media Group -- CTN will join the networks on Galaxy 7. ICN will
take over the task of marketing the service to cable operators.
The Galaxy bird has a national footprint, but ICN
executives expect the strongest markets for CTN to be New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.
CTN will be programmed with shows from the Zhong Tian news
and Dadi variety networks from China. The service will be available for domestic cable
operators beginning the first week of November and, as a premium service, it will carry a
suggested retail price of $11.99. CTN and ICN will share revenue with cable affiliates
CTN joins ART (Arabic television), CCTV-4 (also
Mandarin-language programming), RAI (Italian), The Filipino Channel, TV Asia (South
Asian), TV5 (French) and Zee TV (South Asia) in ICN's multilingual digital suite.
ICN senior vice president of network development Scott
Wheeler said the suite is just beginning to roll out, and he wouldn't disclose MSO
contracts. Individual networks have already been launched on some systems, though.
ICN executives said the Chinese-language population in the
United States is exploding right now, and Wheeler added that the network expects
"hundreds of thousands" of CTN subscribers.