A fresh start by JTBC
The four new TV networks and a news channel started off their first week on-air smoothly amid a better-than-expected public response. Thanks to the launch of general broadcasting stations, viewers now have a broad choice between variety shows, reality shows, sitcoms and drama episodes over the weekend.
The new general broadcast channels must compete with a multitude of existing cable channels and the juggernaut terrestrial TV networks - KBS, MBC and SBS.
Among the newcomers, JTBC stood out with three programs recording ratings of more than 1 percent.
The network’s epic drama, “Queen Insoo,” which is based on a fierce power struggle among women in the royal court of the Joseon Dynasty, competed against a top comedy program from a major domestic TV station airing at the same time, but nevertheless gained 1.082 percent in ratings according to AGB Nielsen Media Research.
There were some occasional hiccups. Audio and visual glitches occurred. Some channels were even criticized for poor quality in both content and technology. But nothing can be perfect from the beginning.
At the end of the day, the viewers and the market will judge the new channels. Only the ones that continue to strive for better quality will stay alive amid intense competition in the new broadcast environment.
Some criticism of the newcomers, however, has been defamatory and even malicious. Resentment and hostility toward them is understandable, but market players should maintain a level of civility.
The new channels have demonstrated enough potential. They put forth new formats in documentary and news-debate programs. They must continue to develop in order to break the long-standing monopoly on the air held by terrestrial networks and widen choices for viewers. They must not be satisfied with meeting the demands of local audiences, but must also seek to make inroads in overseas markets.
Due to the new competition, the media market has finally been exposed to new content and technology, and viewers will be the stern judges of the competition, deciding the worth of the content in the new programs.
Overall, the media industry should benefit and evolve for the better with the launch of these new stations. Continued interest and support from viewers will help accelerate this evolution.