BET ventures outside of North America.
Viacom's is looking to expand the reach of BET's programming by launching the first channel for that brand in Asia.
As per a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) unit has made the big of infiltrating the South Korean market with BET and will reach a large audience almost right away. Available to residents as of today (September 26th), the move is made possible through a partnership with a paid TV entity called SK Broadband, which already has 4.2 million subscribers. Any hip-hop and R&B fans in that part of the world will be able to watch on B tv, SK’s linear service, as well as oksusu, the equivalent streaming service.
"South Korea is the first Asia market to launch BET, the leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for people that want to know what’s hot, what’s next and what matters in urban black culture," Viacom said in a statement. "The introduction of the BET channel in Asia is a key step in strengthening our presence both in South Korea and in Asia, while expanding our portfolio of adult-targeted brands," said Paras Sharma, senior VP and general manager for the Southeast Asia leg of VIMN. He's also the head of digital media, Asia, for the company. "It will not only add content diversity to Korean pay TV but offer top-quality general entertainment, music and news for audiences interested in urban culture."
It's a sure sign that the hip-hop market in South Korea and, by extension, Asia in general, has grown significantly in recent years. In fact, this year’s BET Awards marked the first time that an Asian artist was nominated, with South Korean performer Changmo getting a nod in the International Viewers’ Choice Award category. The show will air on BET Korea on October 14th. BET is already recognized as a global brand as well, having already set up shop in more than 125 million homes in over 60 countries, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Africa and the Caribbean, just to name a few. There's no word on if there will be more locally-focused music programming coming to BET Korea.