ImaginAsian TV, the 24/7 cable network that reaches about 4 million subscribers in the U.S., has sold a $20 million equity stake to South Korean entertainment company Sidus Corp.
ImaginAsian Ent. chairman AugustineSC Hong would not reveal how much of the biz the coin had bought, but said the investment marked the first phase of what could become an extensive partnership with Sidus, which will supply movies, TV series, musicvideos and live-event performances in their original languages with English subtitles.
One use for the money, he continued, will be to beef up ImaginAsian’s subscriber base in the U.S. “We need scale to get advertisers to pay attention to us. Right now, our share of the advertising marketplace is pretty sad,” Hong said frankly.
ImaginAsian is also expanding into video-on-demand, theatrical movies, DVD and online gaming. The programming lineup on IA TV consists of shows made in South Korea, Japan, India, Hong Kong, China, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, all subtitled in English. IA TV also commissions original series, such as sitcoms, reality shows and standup comedy, some of it in English.
ImaginAsian also bought the U.S. distribution rights to the Vietnamese/American theatrical movie “Journey From the Fall,” which has grossed more than $500,000 in limited release. Hong said more theatrical releases are in the works.
Meanwhile SidusHQ, the talent arm, has established a Beijing branch office.
Launched in partnership with SK Telecom China, the office opens with $2.2 million in capital and will promote Korean stars in the Chinese market. Company also expects to sign three to four Chinese stars to its roster in the near future.
(Darcy Paquet in Seoul contributed to this report.)