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MEDIA : Chinese TV Channel Expands Programming

January 27, 1994|LEE ROMNEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A South El Monte company has become the first in the country to offer Chinese-language programming via satellite 24 hours a day. This year, it also became the first to broadcast the Rose Parade in Mandarin and Cantonese.

The Chinese Communication Channel, established in 1989, is eagerly tapping into a vast audience of Chinese speakers across the country, putting out a mix of its own and imported programming, and selling satellites to help customers receive Chinese-language programming.

"We can honestly claim we are the one and only in the U.S. to go 24 hours, as far as Asian television. We really do see the potential in the Asian market," said Jocelyn Chan, director for sales and marketing for the company, a division of North American Television.

Viewers with access to the five cable companies that carry CCC throughout the Southland, or the one Seattle cable company that carries it, can still watch the Chinese-language programming only in blocks. But last November, Time Warner Cable in New York started offering the programming 24 hours a day. As of Jan. 1, viewers who have a satellite dish can also tap into continuous programming, Chan said.

Programs are mostly in Mandarin, but all are subtitled in Chinese characters, which do not vary among dialects, Chan added.

The Rose Parade was broadcast live, with Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking commentators offering description and analysis, and complete with major corporate sponsors. It was so successful, Chan said, callers asked that it be rerun twice.

The parade will be broadcast in two Mainland Chinese provinces early next month, around the time of Chinese New Year.

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Crown, ATC, TCI and Apollo cable companies carry CCC in Southern California. The Feb. 12 Chinese New Year's Parade in Alhambra will also be broadcast live, Chan said.

The response shows just how big and eager the Chinese-speaking market is, Chan said. Programming expanded from six to 12 hours in September, and then to 24 hours last month.

Satellite dish orders handled through the company's satellite division skyrocketed, from about 170 a month when CCC offered only six hours of programming to 300 a month when programming went to 12 hours in September. So far this month, the company has received about 80 orders a day, Chan said.

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