Asia only for German net

5:00 AM PST 05/18/2007 by Scott Roxborough, AP

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CANNES -- Germany's Splendid Film is set to launch Europe's first pay-TV channel devoted exclusively to Asian cinema and programming.

The channel, called Amazia (short for Amazing Asia), is set to launch this fall on German cable and pay-TV platforms. Asian films and Manga animation will make up the bulk of Amazia's programming, but the channel will also feature Asian sports like kickboxing and sumo wrestling plus Asian game shows from Korea and Japan.

Splendid will supply about 70% of Amazia's programming from its own library, which includes more than 400 Asian feature films. But Splendid CEO Andreas Klein said in an interview that the Cologne-based group will also be acquiring specifically for Amazia.

If the channel works, it could provide a new platform and revenue stream in Europe for Asian product. While Asian films are strong DVD sellers, they are rarely shown in primetime slots on German television and often struggle to break out of art house niche in theatrical release in the territory.

Splendid is hoping Amazia will also provide a major cross-promotion opportunity. The company has already launched an Asia cinema DVD label also called Amazia in Germany and in Benelux, where Splendid has a distribution agreement with 20th Century Fox.
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