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A+E Networks launches channels in Korea, plans local content

2017/10/12 14:13

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By Chang Dong-woo

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- U.S. media group A+E Networks on Thursday launched two of its TV channel brands in South Korea, aiming to produce original content tailored to the country and the greater Asian market.

History and Lifetime, part of the A+E Networks group, began programming on various cable operators, IPTVs and SkyLife, a local satellite TV network, at midnight, A+E Networks Korea said.

A+E Networks, a joint venture between Hearst Communications and Disney-ABC Television Group, last year purchased two local channels -- FoodTV and TVIS -- and acquired a strategic stake in South Korean entertainment production firm iHQ.

"Marrying great global story telling with locally relevant content, we thought that it was a unique opportunity for partnership," said Sean Cohan, president of international and digital media at A+E Networks, at a press conference in the Four Seasons hotel in central Seoul.

Sean Cohan, president of A+E Networks' International and Digital Media, announces the launch of the group's History and Lifetime cable TV channels in Korea at the Four Seasons hotel in central Seoul on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the company. (Yonhap) Sean Cohan, president of A+E Networks' International and Digital Media, announces the launch of the group's History and Lifetime cable TV channels in Korea at the Four Seasons hotel in central Seoul on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the company. (Yonhap)

Cohan added: "Expanding meaningfully in Korea right now felt like a natural extension or an evolution in our activities. It's always been a great production market. It made a tremendous impact on the rest of the world."

   For now, the two channels will air the network's original content produced in-house by A+E Studios, such as the TV series "Vikings" and reality show "Pawn Stars," but will soon present South Korean-made content as well.

"The Reader" on the History channel will feature local hip-hop stars reading and explaining the meaning of their music, while Lifetime's "Idol Mom," to be produced together with S.M. Entertainment, will focus on mothers and their children striving to become K-pop idol stars.

Soh Young-sun, head of A+E Networks Korea, hoped its entry into South Korea will serve as a stepping stone for local platform providers and content creators to expand into the global market.

"A+E's entry into Korea is significant for being the first case where a global media company not only operates channels in South Korea but also invests directly in content creation and distribution," Soh said.

odissy@yna.co.kr

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