International Channel's "Asia Street" block has been an attractive advertising avenue for movie studios and automobile marketers.
One month after the launch of the service's bilingual nighttime block, inventory is already at a premium. All ad time during the block — which runs for 90 minutes weeknights and two hours on Saturdays — has been sold. Among the sponsors: The Walt Disney Co., Vivendi Universal S.A., Ford Motor Co. and Honda.
"It's going well," said International Channel vice president of ad sales Bill Georges. "The advertisers are willing to hop in because they see it as a vehicle to reach different Asian denominations in the 18-to-34 age range at the same time."
Network officials have 10 minutes of national time per hour to sell within the block. Affiliates have two minutes per hour for local ads and promotion.
Among other parties considering contracts: soft-drink giants PepsiCo Inc. and The Coca-Cola Co., said Georges.
"Companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola would not have entertained this in the past," he said.
"Asia Street" premiered Jan. 20 with a promotional gait that will stride in different directions as the block gets its bearings.
Network executives describe it as a meld of the Asian community's favorite programming genres —action and martial-arts flicks, anime, music videos and variety series.
Initially, it was promoted through testimonial spots by host Jun Hee Lee.
Episodic descriptions, banner-ad reminders and a chat room dedicated to the block appeared on the network's Web site (www.internationalchannel.com) this month.
Promotions in college campuses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and other major Asian-American population centers are being considered for March and April.
The campaign has two main messages: there is one place for viewers of Asian-American heritage to catch what they like, and it caters to their level of fluency.
"This honors your heritage, but makes allowances for the fact that you may or may not be bilingual," said International Channel vice president of marketing Jim Honiotes.