Japan's Yoshimoto Kogyo Partners With Taiwan's Azio on New Pan-Asia Cable TV Channel

Yoshimoto Kogyo is to provide content to the new channel, which will initially reach 13 mil households in China.

Japanese talent agency powerhouse Yoshimoto Kogyo is to continue its aggressive overseas expansion with a tie-up on a new cable/satellite channel with Taiwan's AZIO, the two companies announced at the Okinawa Intl Movie Festival on Sunday.

The new channel, Yoshimoto AZIO TV, will begin broadcasting on April 1 in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as in limited distribution in other Asian territories, Europe and North America. Total initial audience will be over 15 million households.   

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The headquarters of the new venture will be in Hong Kong, with Yoshimoto Kogyo providing as yet unspecified content for the channel, which will run variety, comedy, food/travel shows, music, award shows and other entertainment-related content. 

“The producers from the other Asian countries involved want to learn from the Japanese TV productions. We'd also like to see a lot of Yoshimoto's comedy programs and comedians on the channel,” said Grace Ko, president of Azio, in response of to a question about what Yoshimoto would bring to the table for the new channel.

Hiroshi Osaki, CEO of Yoshimoto Kogyo, said he was interested to see how the 'manzai' style of straight man/sidekick double act, which Yoshimoto was instrumental in turning into the dominant comedy form in Japan, would translate to the rest of Asia. Many of Yoshimoto's comedians have used their manzai acts as a springboard into careers in television presenting, acting and other fields.   

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“On Yoshimoto Kogyo's 100th anniversary year we are are excited to both collaborate on the new channel but also do what we can to cheer up the whole of Japan after the recent difficult times,” said Ryutaro Ko, Yoshimoto's head of Asia.  

The press conference at the festival, which is organized by Yoshimoto, concluded with a contract-signing ceremony between the two companies.

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