Broadcast ‘big bang’ getting closer, a bit clearer

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Broadcast ‘big bang’ getting closer, a bit clearer

The nation’s broadcasting regulator announced yesterday a road map of how it will choose companies by the end of the year to expand the industry. It has not decided how many new broadcasters will be allowed.

The government wants to increase the number of terrestrial broadcast networks from the current three to expand viewers’ choices and built a world-class industry as a result of increased competition. The nation’s big media groups, including the JoongAng Ilbo, are all expected to apply.

According to the Korea Communications Commission, the process of selecting new general entertainment and news program broadcasters will begin next month with a series of public hearings.

After the KCC listens to public opinion, a blueprint will be approved by the middle of next month.

In October, detailed criteria for the candidates will be announced and in October and November, applications will be accepted. In November and December, the commission will finalize the selection plan and finally, in December, an evaluation committee will be formed to make the final selection.

Key elements of the selection are still up in the air yesterday, including the number of new broadcasters.

The commission said applicants must have more than 300 billion won in paid-in capital. It is considering two methods of selecting companies: “straight-scale grading” and “comparative evaluation.”

In straight-scale grading, any number of companies can be selected to operate broadcasting services as long as they meet the criteria decided in the next few months, and each applicant merely has to have the required 300 billion won ($255 million) in capital.

For the comparative evaluation plan, the commission will decide in advance how many licenses will be granted and then compare applications to decide which are stronger. Regarding the number of new licenses, the commission said it had two parallel ideas - either to give one or two more licenses, or else three or more.

The commission said expanding the broadcasting industry will also help Korea embrace the rapidly changing media environment.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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