Universal Channel launching in Asia

NBCU Global Nets inks first pay TV deal in Singapore

SINGAPORE -- NBC Universal Global Networks will launch its first Universal Channel in Asia in July, Raymund Miranda, NBC Universal Global Networks Asia Pacific managing director, said Wednesday.

The first carriage deal is with Singapore's dominant pay TV platform, StarHub, which will also carry the third Sci Fi Channel in Asia, Miranda said.

Sci Fi and Universal are part of a major channel package revamp StarHub is expected to unveil at a briefing Thursday. StarHub has 508,000 subscribers, including 438,000 digital households, and total pay TV penetration of about 50%.

Channels accessing the platform for the first time also include Sony Pictures Entertainment Networks Asia's AXN Beyond and AETN International's joint venture Biography Channel.

NBC Universal plans to have more than 25 channels in Asia Pacific by the end of 2009, Roma Khanna, global networks and digital initiatives president, said in an interview during her trip to Asia this month.

Universal Channel's July debut includes Asian premieres of "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Quarterlife," "Greek," "The Office" (Season 4) and "American Gladiators."

Sci Fi's Singapore launch schedule includes content from NBC Universal, CBS Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Broadmedia Studios. First-run series are "Heroes Unmasked," "Dead Like Me," "Medium" (Season 3) and "The Dead Zone" (Season 3).