The Walt Disney Company – through its subsidiary Disney Channel International (DCI) – and SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM), a leading telecommunications service provider in Korea, today announced the intent to form a joint venture to launch Korean-language Disney-branded channels in South Korea. These will be the first Disney Channels in the world launched as a joint venture.
As a part of the proposed agreement, the joint venture company plans to launch Korean-language versions of Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney Channel targeted at kids and families in South Korea. These two channels will be available in HD multiplex, as well as SD format over cable, direct-to-home and IPTV platforms and related on-demand digital media services in South Korea. Anchored by Disney’s beloved characters and kid and family-friendly content, the channels will air a significant portion of locally produced, Korean-language programming. The launch of the channels is slated for spring 2011, pending regulatory approval from the Korea Communications Commission.
SK Telecom will be the majority (51 per cent) shareholder in the joint venture company and will bring to the partnership its expertise in mobile, IPTV and digital media platforms, as well as operational experience and business expertise as one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea. In return for its 49 per cent stake in the venture, The Walt Disney Company will provide its globally recognized portfolio of kids and family-targeted content, marketing expertise, and local content production & acquisition support.
SK Telecom President and CEO Man-won Jung said: “The joint venture with Disney carries significant meaning, especially considering the business environment nowadays where customers consume content not only through television, but through an array of devices, including mobile handsets, laptop computers and tablet PCs. In the future, by forging a close strategic alliance with Disney, we hope to create more opportunities between the two parties.”
“South Korea is one of the most exciting digital media markets in the world. Disney’s creativity and innovative content, combined with SK Telecom’s leading global expertise in digital media and telecommunications, present a unique offering that meets the growing consumer appetite for quality family entertainment where and when they want it,” said Andy Bird, Chairman, Walt Disney International.
“The Korea Communications Commission’s visionary digital strategy has driven South Korea’s impressive development as one of the most digitally advanced nations in the world,” added Ben Pyne, President, Global Distribution, Disney Media Networks. “SK Telecom has delivered on that vision with an intuitive, diverse yet straightforward and convenient system of connectivity that engages viewers with choice and compelling content. That vision and connectivity will enable the Korean-language Disney Channels to be the perfect medium for bringing together the best of national and international content to serve and grow the interests of kids and families in Korea.”
Based on the establishment of the joint venture, SK Telecom will deepen its strategic alliance with The Walt Disney Company. The combination of SK Telecom’s reach and expertise in the local Korean market and Disney’s award-winning family content will lead to the creation of a robust portfolio of quality family entertainment for South Korean viewers.
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