May 25, 2005
Written by C.N.
The Washington Post has an article that describe several recent efforts to develop TV programming aimed at the emerging Asian American population. As the article points out,
Over the past year, at least a half-dozen English-language, 24-hour cable and satellite networks targeting Asians have started or announced plans, such as Comcast-owned AZN and MTV’s three channels for Indian, Chinese and Korean immigrants. They are all clamoring to reach markets with large Asian populations. . . .
As competition intensifies, the networks have discovered that the programming of yesteryear (think amateurs croaking songs on Saturday mornings) no longer cuts it. Unlike the mammoth Latino market, Asians cannot be unified by language, so programmers are trying to lure an audience that straddles several niches. And they compete mightily to create content that will resonate across Asian subgroups and eventually into the mainstream, bringing in the viewers and advertising revenue they need to survive. . . .
In an industry with entire channels devoted to foodies and fashionistas alike, niche programming still needs to reach out and touch everyone. So shows are developed for Asians, as broad as such an audience already is, and sometimes taken even broader. With enough luck and buzz, they could be the next “Iron Chef” (Food Network) or “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” (Bravo).
I find it interesting that on the one hand, several “mainstream” media powerhouses apparently have an interest in developing programming aimed primarily at Asian American audiences, but on the other hand, many of these same media companies are so resistant and utterly clueless about incorporating Asian Americans into their own “mainstream” TV shows, as evidenced by the continuing criticism that they receive from APA organizations about the lack of Asian American characters in primetime TV.
In other words, they want our eyeballs and our money, but don’t want to spotlight us to a general audience — kinda like they’re ashamed of us or something. Hmmm . . .
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "The Future of Asian American Television" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/05/the-future-of-asian-american-television/> ().
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