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SK Telecom, Walt Disney Plan To Set Up JV To Launch Korean-Language Disney Channels

SEOUL -(Dow Jones)- SK Telecom Co. and the Walt Disney Company (DIS) intend to form a joint venture to launch Korean-language Disney channels in South Korea, SK Telecom said Wednesday. South Korea's largest wireless carrier by revenue said in a statement that it will be the majority shareholder in the joint venture with a 51% stake, while the remaining 49% will be handed to Disney Channel International (DCI), one of Walt Disney's subsidiaries. Under the agreement, the joint venture plans to launch Korean-language versions of the Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney Channel. Financing arrangements for the venture weren't mentioned in the statement. "These two channels will be available in HD (High Definition) multiplex as well as SD format over cable, direct-to-home and IPTV platforms and related on-demand digital media services in South Korea. Anchored by Disney's much-loved characters and content for kids and families, the channels will air a significant proportion of locally produced, Korean-language programming," SK Telecom said. "South Korea is one of the most exciting digital media markets in the world. Disney's creativity and innovative content, combined with SK Telecom's leading global expertise in digital media and telecommunications, present a unique offering that meets the growing consumer appetite for quality family entertainment where and when they want it," Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, said in the statement. The launch of the channels is slated for spring 2011 pending regulatory approval from the Korea Communications Commission. -By Jung-Ah Lee, Dow Jones Newswires; 822-3700-1907; jung-ah.lee@dowjones.com

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