The MYX, a new channel from the Phillippines' ABS-CBN network, is the latest attempt to conquer the elusive Asian American television audience.
The MYX is available with the ABS-CBN satellite package and as a $4.95 add-on from DirecTV beginning June 15. With entertainment programming that includes interviews with Asian American DJs, music videos and animation, the MYX is trying to succeed in a market where the likes of MTV have tried and failed. "We want to unite and unify the culture of a minority group," Jeff Nasalga, a MYX programming executive, told the San Jose Mercury News. "We are giving recognition to what their music stands for, giving the people what they want and giving aspiring artists (an) opportunity."
AZN and ImaginAsian are two other TV channels that are trying to tap the young, hip and affluent Asian American market. While they're still available on cable systems in areas with large Asian American populations, they've both scaled back on original programming. The MYX is banking on growing its subscriber base for revenue rather than advertising, according to the Mercury News. (Full disclosure: I work for the Merc's sister paper.)
The problems with marketing to Asian Americans are well documented: it's a fragmented, ill-defined demographic with many ethnicities and sub-groups; there's no central thread that ties Asian Americans together and it's too small a market when compared to African Americans or Latinos.
It'll be interesting to see if the MYX can gain a foothold. One of the problems with MTV's Asian American channels was that they were only available on satellite, limiting their reach. AZN and ImaginAsian are more readily accessible but they don't seem to be taking off. I get both AZN and ImaginAsian on my cable package, but I only occasionally watch them. They both seem to have lots of Asian programming, meaning from Asia. But how is that Asian American? Just because I'm Chinese I'm supposed to like shows from Hong Kong or China? Maybe Asian Americans, however they are defined, don't need or want channels aimed at them? Or maybe the programs aren't appealing? Why do you watch or don't watch?