Hoping to capitalize on the burgeoning Asian pop culture scene, ImaginAsian Entertainment will rebrand its Asian-American targeted ImaginAsian TV cable network in an effort to appeal to a broader urban audience.
The renamed iaTV service will offer Asian-themed, mostly English-language movies, original series and specials from such companies as Sony Pictures Television, MGM and Japan-based Bandai Entertainment that the network hopes will have broad appeal, according to iaTV Media president Adam Ware.
The rebranding move comes as 5 million-subscriber iaTV becomes the dominant network player in the Asian-American market, with the folding of Comcast-owned AZN Television earlier this year. Ware, formerly chief operating officer of broadcast network UPN (which merged with The WB to form The CW), said the popularity of Asian-influenced content in today's media shows that such content extends beyond a niche group of viewers.
Indeed, theatricals such as Kung Fu Panda (which generated more than $100 million at the box office since its release two weeks ago) and TV shows such as Food Network's Iron Chef have drawn fans across all ethnic and demographic groups.
“If you look around and go to any store or go to the movie theatres, you see Asian pop culture everywhere, but there really isn't any 24-hour channel for it,” Ware said. “When AZN got out of the space, it gave iaTV an opportunity to be the market leader for what we're defining as Asian pop culture.”
Among the new original shows that iaTV will offer: The Popper, a weekly look at top Asian pop-culture moments; iaRadio, a weekly music series; and iaLink, a daily lifestyle strip. The network will also return originals such as quirky reality show Uncle Morty's Dub Shack, comedy show Comedy Zen, mixed-martial-arts series Pancrase: Legends of Mixed Martial Arts and game-show spoof Banzai.
In addition, Ware said the network will create several themed movie blocks similar to TBS's Dinner and a Movie franchise. Those include Chix Kix Flix, which features bikini-clad girls hosting vintage Kung Fu movies.
Ware said the network is in talks with several operators and expects to hit the 10 million subscriber mark by the end of the year.
“We're going to talk to operators and other distributors to help to distribute the content on a market-to-market basis in an effort to bring Asian pop culture to viewers,” he said.