August 7, 2008

Comcast drops ImaginAsian TV

Following in the path of AZN, it looks like another one bites the dust. I never had access to Imaginasian (and I don't get to watch much TV anyway), but from looking at the website, I'm not really surprised that it went down. It looks like their programming focused either on:

a) Foreign films/dramas

or

b) Original productions that are really, really, really saccharine and wholesome

I think it was a noble effort, and I'm glad businesses like ImaginAsian are taking risks by trying to showcase people of Asian descent. But from my experiences in working with the Asian American community, most Asian Americans will only watch stories of people in other countries who speak different languages for so long, even if the people are really beautiful. Eventually we hunger for an organic media that addressed our issues. And even though the sweet, happy, and wholesome approach seems like the friendlier, let's-all-get-along way of doing things, Asian Americans eventually get tired of that too. Compared with our real life experiences, it's lame.

I think IA Media's President Adam Ware makes a good but maybe half-correct point:

Ware said statistics show that the primary language of an overwhelming majority of Asians in America is not their native language but English.

“Stations like KTSF do a disservice to the Asian American market as they niche Asian communities and then pitch programming in their languages - to me that’s horribly uninspired,” said Ware. “I am a firm believer that there is room for an English Asian pop culture channel.”

I think there is room for an English Asian channel, but I just don't think the wholesome approach works. Pop culture itself may have to wait. Think about hip hop; it's technically pop culture, but there are deeper stories that lie beneath the surface. I think Asian Americans want to put more resources into deeper issues because we're tired of not controlling our own media, and we're tired of fake wholesomeness.

(Picture from USA Today)

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