Comcast pulls the plug on anime and Asian TV channel
One of Hawaii's sources for Asian television programming will go dark April 9.
Oceanic Time Warner Cable carries AZN TV, but the plug is being pulled by AZN parent company Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable provider, based in Philadelphia.
The channel reached about 13.9 million Comcast homes and more via other providers, "but we weren't able to get any additional widespread reach," said spokeswoman Teresa Wiedel.
The decision to take the network down was made after a Comcast consultant conducted an assessment to see if AZN could be saved.
A big issue was that it could not raise the advertising base it desired. The 15 employees will be offered employment within Comcast.
Comcast doesn't serve Hawaii but AZN was seen in Hawaii via International Networks LLC, a Comcast subsidiary that distributes many channels including TV Japan and the Filipino Channel, which Oceanic also carries.
AZN airs anime, dramas, movies, cooking, news and variety shows in English, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Hindi.
Its anime, or Japanese cartoon shows, are presented in English. Some animephreaks prefer shows that air in Japanese with English subtitles.
Until it goes away, AZN will be on Oceanic channel 132. A click away is competing programming on ImaginAsian TV, on channel 134.
AZN debuted on Oceanic in March of 2005, said Alan Pollock, vice president of marketing. "AZN has more viewers than ImaginAsian," but local Asian stations KIKU-TV and KBFD-TV "combined have about six times more viewers ... than AZN," he said.
No decision has been made on what, if anything, will replace AZN. Oceanic offers more Asian channels at additional cost.
ImaginAsian airs various types of shows in many languages, including anime -- in Japanese -- dramas, sports, news, documentaries, movies, variety shows and original programming from various Asian nations in languages including English, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.
New York-based ImaginAsian Entertainment Inc. this week called AZN's impending closing "disappointing," but not surprising.
Both networks' goal is to serve Asian Americans and others interested in the varied cultures.
"Both television networks have raised awareness of Asians in this country and in the media industry," said Michael Huh, vice president of marketing and strategic development, in a statement.
ImaginAsian, "will carry on and continue to grow the marketplace representing all things Asian."
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