Asian American Culture, Politics, Issues. Politipop, humor and observations. Road Stories from tour dates of Amerasian legends Slanty Eyed Mama. The comedy of Asian American Comedy Star Kate Rigg. Interacting with different Asian American groups from colleges and community organizations, as well as people involved in feminist/multicultural/socio-political/ and groups interested in fostering understanding between diverse communities in America and beyond.

Friday, February 08, 2008

AZN shuts its sad lame doors

I can't believe we never even had a chance. The article from December 2005 in the SF Gate called "Asian Pop/AZN R.I.P" sent a shudder through the hearts of Asian American Artists who only a few months before had thrilled to the announcement that comcast was launching a special network JUST FOR Asian Americans with original programming as well as feeds from around the world. I like, many other A.D.D. multimedia multicultural AZN artists came up with 300 good ideas for programming, cheap cool ones at that. And I interviewed hundreds of college and high school students while on tour with Slanty Eyed Mama about what kinds of things they would like to see on an AZN network. Here is an excerpt from the SF Gate article in case you don't want to read the whole thing. Bottom line my friends. Money talks and bullshit walks. I am so mad mad mad because the shut down of AZN sends the wrong message to the media. It says that there is no audience for cool A/PI programming which is BULLSHIT!! There is no audience for whack old school K-dramas sandwiched between endless repeats of the same Yao Ming documentary and one off stand up comedy shows half assed shot in a basement with no decent graphics package and no publicity. We got sold out for a half billion dollars in the pockets of the real power players who put this deal together and whose name you will not find in this article or anywhere on line. We had our asses handed to us by shit brains who wanted us to fail and who laid off the entire staff, cancelled production and pulled budgets out, waiting for 2008 so they could say "Well, gee whiz we tried! I guess there is no audiences for this kind of station." Lemme in that board room! Next time round we're gonna do it right.

FROM THE SF GATE 2005 portender of doom:
Variety shows and news from Hong Kong. Japanese animation. Soap operas from Korea. Bollywood movies. Valuable content, but nothing groundbreaking -- and nothing targeted specifically at Asian Americans. With senior managers dedicated to development and acquisitions gone, some staff members wonder what will happen once the channel runs out its string. As one employee put it, "They don't want to be seen as killing it, so they're going to let it die on the vine."

Business is business, of course, even for companies that proudly tout their commitment to diversity and community service. And hidden behind the hype and glory of AZN's launch were some financial intricacies that suggest the channel is ultimately as valuable to Comcast dead as alive, if not more so. This is because the deal that landed the channel in Comcast's lap was actually part of an intricate fiscal tango in which Comcast received $545 million in tax-free cash, called a "cash-rich split-off."

Because of certain arcane IRS regulations, at least 5 percent of the assets transferred in a cash-rich split-off have to be in the form of a business "engaged in the active conduct of a trade or commerce" -- in this case, International Channel. This business also has to continue operating for a certain period of time after transfer, the rule of thumb being one year.

After that, the parent company is free to liquidate it if it so wishes, thereby absorbing the subsidiary's assets -- which, in this case, include a half-billion dollars in tax-free cash. By that standard, one should note that on July 28, 2005, the anniversary of the transaction, the statutory incentive for AZN's existence essentially went away.

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