District councils entertaining residents on Net

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District councils entertaining residents on Net

Mapo resident Kim Won-guk is a fan of football club FC Seoul, but isn’t always able to watch their games when they’re broadcast on TV. He doesn’t have to worry about that anymore: by going to a Web site run by his local district office, he can see FC Seoul games anytime and from anywhere.

“I love how the district office broadcasts the games,” says Kim, “when even the cable TV channels do not.”

District offices are no longer places you only go to apply for a passport or update your hojeok, or family history. They’re now in the broadcasting business.

The phenomenon began in 2000 in Gangdong District. Today, 22 out of 25 Seoul districts operate Internet broadcasting stations, excluding Yongsan, Gwanak and Jung. And they’re starting to add creative content.

“The number of users is important for Internet TV stations, just like ratings are important for regular TV stations,” said Chang Won-seok, the head of communications in Gangnam District. “So the district offices are developing unique content to draw people’s interests.”

Mapo’s district office has been broadcasting FC Seoul matches online since 2008. They have their own cameras and commentators. Songpa district office broadcasts a child care program called “Raising the Best Kid,” which is popular among mothers in the district. A team of 16 experts gives advice on infant care and study habits.

Guro district office broadcasts lectures on yoga for pregnant women and birthing tips. Gangnam district office signed a contract with a video distribution company, so they broadcast movies like “East of Eden” and “A Farewell to Arms” once a month. They also broadcast speeches of famous figures around the globe and offer translations. On average, 1,300 people connect to the Web site per month to watch movies and listen to speeches.

By Han Eun-hwa [enational@joongang.co.kr]
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