In yet another move to forge a new image, Burbank public TV outlet KCETLink made a deal last week to broadcast a 24-hour channel originating from Japan.
Under the deal, it will carry English-language programming around the clock from the Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, beginning next month. The shows will air on KCET’s digital channel 28.4. Viewers can find the channel through their cable guides.
Mare Mazur, chief operating officer at KCETLink, said it’s an effort to build out the station’s focus on the Pacific Rim and help the station appeal to the sizable Asian-American demographic in Southern California.
“I looked at this as a complement to the kind of work that we’ve done,” she said. “This felt like an opportunity to round out the programming. We serve the most diverse area on the planet. It gives us a broad palette to paint on.”
The station already broadcasts some NHK programming such as “Journeys in Japan” on its main channel. Mazur said the expansion was due in part to the popularity of those shows.
The new programming block is called NHK World TV and includes “Newsline,” along with lifestyle and cultural shows such as “Tokyo Eye” and “Dining With the Chef.” There will also be documentaries and specials.
The programming replaces MHz Worldview on the digital dial, an internationally minded array of news, documentaries and other cultural programming that comes from Washington, D.C., non-profit broadcaster MHz Networks.
For KCETLink, it’s another step toward building out its new identity as a purveyor of local, national and international programming. When the station dropped out of the PBS network in 2010, it was left with a major void in content. (PBS affiliates typically get about 70 percent of programming from the network.)
In the time since, KCET has needed to build a brand as an independent station. Last year, it merged with Bay Area public TV satellite network Link TV. The deal, which did not involve a financial transaction, gave KCET national distribution on satellite networks and access to new content.
The NHK deal took the form of a marketing partnership. For example, NHK will begin taking out print, cable TV and radio ads next month to promote the launch of the programming block.
Westlake Village in-flight entertainment firm Global Eagle Entertainment has expanded into Chinese airspace.
Global Eagle’s founders, meanwhile, are already eyeing their next deal.
Global Eagle will work with state-owned telecom firm China Telecom Satellite Communications Co. to equip Chinese airlines with Wi-Fi and entertainment options. The deal also covers some non-Chinese airlines that fly into and over China.
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