Foreign lingo nets to get U.S. digital distribution

TCI-owned Int'l Channel Networks to up ethnic programming

MIAMI — A package of four foreign-lingo networks, including Italy’s RAI, are set to gain digital distribution in the U.S. starting Oct. 15, courtesy of TCI-owned Intl. Channel Networks.

Along with RAI, Indian net Zee TV, Arab-lingo ART and the Filipino Channel are being added to help satisfy a growing demand for ethnic programming in the U.S.

The nets join China’s CCTV-4, TV Asia, French-lingo web TV5 and the International Channel as part of a digital package available to cable operators.

In demand

“The demand for in-language channels is currently untapped by most cable operators and is one that DTH providers are quickly taking advantage of,” said affiliate relations senior VP Davida Shear.

Shear cited the 40 million-plus Americans who speak a second language at home and the more than 15 million immigrants seeking to maintain ties with their homelands.

“It’s efficient for the cable operator to pull all the channels down at once, but they only distribute the ones they want,” said International Channel spokeswoman Teresa Weidel, adding that the webs will be sold to subscribers on an a la carte basis.

Including recently launched Spanish-lingo digital tier Canales n, the International Channel now markets 15 ethnic channels.

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