[EDITORIALS]Dream media has drawbacksFollowing the designation of satellite service providers for Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), terrestrial service providers for DMB in Seoul metropolitan area are now being selected. We are entering “the palm-held television era;” a time of dream media. Satellite DMB, which started test broadcasts at the beginning of the year with nine channels, will launch full-scale operations in May, and the terrestrial DMB service providers, led by three network television stations, are busy preparing their own test broadcasts. It looks as if some 20 new video channels will be made available within this year.
This new media, that transcends the shortcomings of television broadcasting ― lack of simplicity and lack of mobility ― will, in a stroke, not only contribute to the deveopment of related industries, but also revitalize the shrunken domestic market. But cheering the appearance of the new media is not enough. To enjoy the practical effects of the new media, we need much more content along with the increased number of channels.
There are around 200 registered program providers in the nation, but only 30 percent of them are able to produce quality programs. Moreover, they are said to have abused human rights by forcibly producing some of their programs, violated copyrights of overseas programs, or debased quality by clinging to production of obscene programs. Under such circumstances, it is highly likely that content will not be diversified. We recall similar experiences at the early stages of cable and satellite television services operations. The fact that satellite DMB service providers are still insisting on the right to relay programs broadcast by network television is further proof of unpreparedness.
If the quality of programs is poor, extra channels will only become social nuisances. The service providers should actively develop new content so that the launch of the new media won’t simply result in the ripping off of consumers, by obliging them to buy expensive new handsets.
At the same time, the birth of new media shouldn’t deepen information divide among consumers. Poor reception of terrestrial broadcasting in remote areas should be upgraded. Service providers must solve this problem in cooperation, under the principle that they will provide satellite services on a payment basis and terrestrial services on a non-payment basis.