Asia growth in game plan for NBC Uni

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NBC Universal is planning a major rollout in Asia in 2008, starting in January with the KidsCo channel on SkyCable Philippines.

Raymund Miranda, who was confirmed Friday as managing director Asia, Global Networks, to lead the integrated global networks operations in the region after NBC Uni's acquisition of Sparrowhawk Media in October, said his immediate priorities, "in no order of importance," are to make sure Hallmark continues to meet its targets, to launch KidsCo in other key Asian markets in the first quarter and launch Sci Fi and Universal in the region in second-quarter 2008.

"In 2008, both the Hallmark Channel and KidsCo, which is a joint venture with Nelvana and DIC, have some very aggressive targets, which we are hoping will continue and will be met post the integration," he said.

Hallmark is available in 21 countries in the region and reaches 23 million households, but Miranda is hoping to "expand its presence to new countries and deepen the penetration in existing ones as required."

"There's obviously a lot of upside that can be had from an ad revenue perspective," he said. Hallmark is not present in two key Asian markets: Taiwan and India.

Deals already are in place for a full rollout of KidsCo in the region in the first quarter, said Miranda, who offered no further details. Sci Fi will be launched in Japan in April and in other markets later in the second quarter.

"Over the next couple of weeks, we will begin to firm up our plans for Sci Fi and Universal channels," he said. "We're aiming for a second-quarter launch period for both."
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