K-pop to reach wider audience through U.S. deal
Published : Sep 29, 2011 - 19:48
Updated : Sep 29, 2011 - 20:58
Viacom International Media Networks, which owns MTV, said on Thursday it has agreed with SBS Media Holdings to set up a joint venture to produce and export Korean music programming, helping K-pop artists get more exposure on MTV channels.

The joint venture will also provide Korean-language versions of music channel MTV and kids channel Nickelodeon for Korean audiences through the Korean media group’s cable and satellite TV channels.

Under the agreement, MTV Korea will be re-branded SBS-MTV. Nickelodeon Korea will be the first children’s channel to be aired on SBS Media Holdings’ cable and satellite TV channels, the two companies said.

“With this venture, we will be doing more original programming including music programming that will not only benefit the Korean market but also allow us to export some of their products,” Robert M. Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, told The Korea Herald after a press conference in Seoul.
Robert M. Bakish (right), president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, speaks at a press conference in Seoul, Thursday. On the left is Hong Seong-wan, CEO of SBS Medianet. (Yonhap News)

“We increasingly bring services across markets to target groups of consumers who are interested in specific culture, possibly music. One of the objectives is to produce more content in Korea and use that content outside Korea.”

Bakish said Viacom International Media Networks has another joint venture in India, running a Hindi language entertainment TV channel called “Colors” for the Indian market.

“That channel is available in the U.S., the U.K., Middle East and other parts of Asia,” he said.

SBS Media Holdings owns a 51 percent of stake in the joint venture, and Viacom International Media Networks, 49 percent. The name of the joint venture has not been decided yet.

“When the channels are launched in December, SBS is going to manage the advertising and affiliate sales operations. And Viacom will manage programming aspects of these channels,” Bakish said.

Well-known Nicklodeon programs include “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Penguins of Madagascar.”

With the two new channels SBS-MTV and Nickelodeon Korea, SBS Media Holdings will have seven cable and satellite TV channels. Others include SBS Golf, SBS Plus (Drama and Entertainment), SBS ESPN, SBS-CNBC and E! Entertainment Channel Korea.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)