New York (AFP) – Black Entertainment Television, the premier US network geared toward African Americans, is launching Tuesday a version in South Korea in its first expansion into Asia.
The South Korean BET channel, available both on traditional television and through streaming, will feature the network’s signature shows as well as local productions, it said.
South Korea puts a concerted effort on promoting pop culture and, while the country is highly homogeneous, it has witnessed a boom in hip-hop — thanks in part to Koreans’ strong ties to rap capital Los Angeles.
Changmo, a South Korean rapper who has entered the country’s top 10 singles chart through collaborations, this year became the first Asian nominated at the BET Awards, competing in the fan-decided International Viewers’ Choice category.
The network will come to South Korea in a partnership with SK Broadband, a unit of conglomerate SK Telecom.
“We believe the BET channel will find a fan base among Korean youth, who are globally recognized as fashion and cultural trendsetters — similar to the BET audience,” Lee Hyung-Hee, CEO of operator SK Broadband, said in a statement.
BET, a unit of international media giant Viacom, already has a presence in Britain, France and sub-Saharan Africa as well as Canada and the Caribbean.
Among the network’s most popular offerings are the BET Hip Hop Awards, which will take place on October 6 in Miami and be broadcast on October 14 in South Korea.