[EDITORIALS]More ads make less sense

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[EDITORIALS]More ads make less sense

KBS was recently granted approval by the Korea Broadcasting Commission to air advertisements on its pop music FM radio station beginning in January in metropolitan Seoul and the outlying regions. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is now reviewing a switch to a daily quota on commercial airtime, and the three network television companies are seeking to air commercials during programs. The moves reflect the broadcasters' and the government's view that one must increase advertising revenue to finance digital broadcasting.

Digital broadcasting offers a visual broadcasting quality that stands far above the analog mode of broadcasting. Digital broadcasting also runs on advanced technology that will eventually enable two-way communication between advertisers and viewers and allow viewers to look for additional material from programs.

But the estimated 2.3 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in funds needed to establish the digitalized broadcast infrastructure and procure equipment should not come solely from more advertisements. A move to allow broadcast media more advertising can effectively lower the quality of programming, through overheated competition for viewers and listeners. The Culture Ministry's plan to implement the daily commercial quota, which will cap commercial airtime at 10 percent of the total daily broadcast hours as opposed to the current system of 10 percent of individual programming time, will in effect allow broadcast companies to mire programs during peak viewing hours with commercials.

The viewing and listening public is bound to be unhappy with the moves planned by the broadcasters and the government, and we question if other possibilities have been considered at all. Advertising revenue for broadcasters already is a significant source of income. For KBS, which also charges every household a viewer fee, advertising revenue represents a level incomparably high when put against the revenue structure of similar broadcasters such as the BBC of England and NHK of Japan. It is a nonsense for KBS to have another radio channel airing commercials.
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