MTV says Asian pop stars set for international fame

By | November 29, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Music video pioneer MTV says it is just a matter of time before Asian pop idols make their presence felt on an international stage.

“I think we are starting to see an awakening of interest in the West about what’s going on in Asia, spiritually, musically, creatively. You have Madonna singing about Asia, Alanis Morissette singing about India,” Frank Brown, president of MTV Networks Asia, told Reuters in a recent interview.

For years now, western pop singers such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Robbie Williams have been idolized by fans across Asia. But that trend may be changing.

“The flow is starting to reverse. You are seeing Asian creativity being celebrated in the West,” said Brown.

The trend has already begun in the movie world where a good number of Asian actors, like kung-fu star Jackie Chan and former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh, are making a name for themselves in Hollywood.

MTV said its inaugural Asia Awards on February 2 will help raise the international profile of local talent.

“If we can give people exposure, the rest will come,” said David Flack, a senior vice president at the youth-oriented network.

Fans from 10 Asian countries have been casting both physical and online votes for their favourite stars from a group selected by MTV.

Among the five musicians nominated from Hong Kong are pop divas Sammi Cheng and Kelly Chan, hearthrobs Nicholas Tse and Andy Lau, and evergreen singer Jacky Cheung.

MTV said four million votes had been cast online in the past two weeks. Its Asian website http://www.mtvasia.com, which offers news on pop music and films, receives around 70 million page views a month, the company said.

Brown said he was confident the company will be able to weather the global economic downturn and forecast growth in both revenue and advertising sales this year.

“When times are tough, advertisers want to know that every dollar is hitting the target so MTV, being very targeted, also represents great value for money,” said Brown.

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