MTV Tunes In to Asian Americana and Imports Global Pop
By Rupa Ranganathan, Ethnic Strategist, Strategic Research Institute
Slowly but surely, Asian culture is building its unique identity in the United States. The sheer plurality of cultures across the “Peoples of Asian Heritage” can be dizzying to marketers, with the myriad different languages, religions and cuisines. Asian art forms are equally diverse, ranging from folk and classical to popular music-dance-drama and exotica. Combining Asian culture with American culture calls for skilful fusion, and the ability to recognize the emergence of a new Asian culture, which is “born in America.”
It is heartening to read about MTV’s foray into three distinct channels aimed at the Asian American market in the United States. MTV Desi, MTV Chi, and MTV K are aimed, respectively, at South Asian American, Chinese American and Korean American consumers. This 12.3 million strong population (not counting Asians of mixed race) is highly educated, affluent and obviously wants to carve out its own unique piece of Americana.
The new stations pull a reversal in strategy relative to MTV’s 42 spin-off channels catering to local populations across the globe. Instead of exporting American culture overseas, MTV will be importing Asian artists and influences to America.
Nusrat Durrani, Senior Vice President and General manager of MTV World’s indefatigable quest to reach this lucrative market, is transparent in the very perceptive feature by Deborah Sontag in the June 19 New York Times Art & Leisure section. According to Durrani, “This country has had the African-American experience, the Hispanic experience, and now it is the time for the third-largest group, the Asian-Americans.”
Urban Latino channels, and the new kid on the block Si TV, reaffirm the unique identities of Latino Americans who speak English and are hungry for distinct programming to match their cultural ethos. These consumers are different from another kind of Latino who prefers to speak Spanish and is more comfortable with the novella genre that has for so long kept the cash registers ringing for Univision, the all powerful Latino network.
Clearly, the advent of specialized channels for the Ethnic-Americans emphasizes the fact that America is no longer a melting pot but a Global Stage.
Moderator’s Comment: Do you think marketers will accelerate their efforts to win Asian-American customers or are they simply overwhelmed by the plethora
of languages and cultural traditions?
MTV’s bold foray into these growing market segments could provide big brands seeking a date with Asian-American consumers an opportunity to come into the
limelight through strategic tie-ins, placement and other innovative marketing investments. –
Rupa Ranganathan – Moderator