Spare TV From Market Principles

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Spare TV From Market Principles

We doubt the wisdom of the Regulatory Reform Committee''s recommendation to allow two or more media representatives to compete in the business of advertising in broadcasting media. The use of broadcasting frequencies has been granted to a limited number of radio and TV companies as the best way to protect the public interest in broadcasting. It is also the reason we have only one private company, compared to three public ones, for national TV broadcasting.

In this regard, the recommendation by the Regulatory Reform Committee is a departure from the intent of the bill submitted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. If put into effect, it will inevitably lead to overheated competition for viewer ratings. Of particular concern is the willingness of MBC (which has been nominally public while relying for most of its revenue on advertising) to compete openly for advertising contracts. If that were to become the case, it will be no different from a private company. It is easy to understand why civil organizations are expressing concern about the possible lowering of standards of programs and the ensuing burden of rising costs for consumers.

Should this new measure be instituted, the new media representatives will undodubtedly come under the control of one or the other of the TV broadcasting companies. While more than 90 percent of the broadcast advertising market is dominated by three major broadcasting companies, should those organizations openly compete for larger shares and more influence in the market, there may be no chance to protect the rights of the viewers. Even if supplementary agencies, such as a price control council, are introduced, their contribution will be minimal at best. Therefore, it is desirable that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism demand a review of this issue.

The most fundamental problem about the suggestion by the Regulatory Reform Committee is its blind adherence to market principles and its indifference to the public nature of broadcasting. The Regulatory Reform Committee has been insensitive and irrational in suggesting that open competition in the broadcast advertising market should be allowed.

by Lee Ju-hyang

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