Pagina 249 - TELE-satellite - La Più Grande Rivista del Mondo Sul Commercio TV Digitale

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249 —
09-10/2012 —
TELE-satellite International —
ship changed once again in 2009 when
the company “Beauty Media” acquired
an 85% stake in ICN.
Neil Nieh explains to us how ICN
functions technically: “We receive
about nine channels from state-run
CCTV and an additional 16 Chinese
provincial TV channels (the number of
channels changes from time to time)
directly out of China from the program-
ming provider “Great Wall” (a state-run
company) via a trans-pacific fiber-optic
cable.” From all of this ICN selects the
programming compatible for viewers in
the USA. “CCTV’s news programs we
carry, for example, with a two-hour de-
lay while popular TV series are delayed
by four weeks or three months.” ICN
also offers video-on-demand services
so that viewers can see their favorite
series sooner for a fee.
ICN doesn’t rebroadcast the origi-
nal Chinese TV channels; instead they
create their own programming using
the programs from the Chinese broad-
casters. “We have a license from the
American FCC (Federal Communica-
tions Commission) to operate as full
broadcaster and that means we have
to include local content in our program-
ming.” And that’s the reason why ICN
operates their own studio. They use it
to produce cooking shows, kids pro-
grams and local news broadcasts. ICN
can be viewed not only in Los Ange-
les via terrestrial ATSC broadcasters,
but can also be seen in San Francisco,
Houston, New York and Seattle. These
other stations also have to follow the
same FCC rules regarding local content.
“We have our own TV studio in each of
these cities so that we can produce lo-
cal programming. The locally produced
programs are then transferred to our
network control center here in Los An-
geles where we put everything togeth-
Neil Nieh gives us an idea on viewer
potential: “Officially there are around
one million Chinese people living in the
Los Angeles area but we estimate that
unofficially it’s more like two million.”
This potential is about the same in the
other cities. “Only in New York do we
broadcast our two channels in English
with Chinese subtitles because of the
many second and third generation Chi-
nese that live there.” ICN is planning
additional TV stations in Chicago, At-
lanta and Boston. ICN is taking small
steps in expanding its network across
the entire USA.
But ICN doesn’t only broadcast their
programming for free via terrestrial TV
stations in ATSC, they are also avail-
able via cable networks in these cities.
“Not only that, we also have capacity
with satellite provider DishNetwork and
our programming can also be viewed
through the three large IPTV providers:
KyLinTV (, iTV (www. and iTalkTV (“
How does ICN finance all of this?
Neil Nieh explains: “40% of our income
comes from advertisements, 30% from
subscription fees and the remaining
30% from our Home Shopping activi-
ties and other events.” How does the
future look to him? “A real problem for
us are the advertising agencies that
are consistently under more and more
pressure by their own customers to in-
vest in Internet advertising. We have to
revamp our advertising in such a way
that they can satisfy the requirements
of the ad agencies.” Neil Nieh makes
it clear: “a simple website for our TV
channels is not what is in demand.”
That’s why Neil Nieh is working on OTT
concepts and interactive services. One
thing is clear: ICN has to change since
not only are the requirements of the
viewers changing, the advertising cus-
tomers are also adjusting to this change
and expect new offerings. And just like
every other programming provider, ICN
is constantly adjusting itself.
The final stop of the
fiber optic cable from
Beijing that carries the
TV channels from China.