Korean channel branching out via Fox Int'l

CJ Media's tvN headed to China, Southeast Asia

CANNES -- Fox International has inked its first-ever deal to distribute a Korean channel across Asia.

A regional version of Korean media conglomerate CJ Media's tvN pay-entertainment channel is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2009, regional president Ward Platt told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

Fox will initially operate the channel in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, with plans to expand to Japan, India and the Middle East, Platt said.

"A lot of companies use popular Korean content to build their brands, but no one has seriously expanded a Korean entertainment brand before," Platt said. "It's a huge missed opportunity."

The two-year-old tvN, Korea's top-rated cable channel, produces about 1,400 hours of content a year. CJ owns rights to about 80% of tvN content, including reality and formats. About 15%-20% of the channel's programming is drama.

"We see tvN as a Korean Fox. It's smart, innovative, edgy TV," Platt said.

Local adaptations of tvN's Korean shows may be produced for other Asian markets as well.

CJ Media is Fox's partner for the National Geographic brand in Korea.