Competitiveness is the key

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Competitiveness is the key

The Korea Communications Commission has unveiled four key criteria for selecting new television broadcasting networks as it looks to broaden choices for viewers.

Under the plan, companies that want to start a new station must demonstrate that they have a broadcasting edge in a global context and present their ideas for vitalizing and diversifying content.

Additionally, they’ll have to highlight how they plan to widen viewership, and lastly, show that they’re be able to adjust to the quickly changing media environment.

The KCC appears to be on the right track.

Having the competence to compete in a fierce global market and produce excellent broadcasting material are essential in determining not only the potential for new channels to succeed but also for the future of our entire media industry.

The commission will spearhead public hearings starting next month to help craft final guidelines to choose the operators of new channels. Once those guidelines are in place, the government plans to move forward with the process of selecting new companies.

Still, some of the guidelines - tied to applicants’ qualifications, the overall number of new channels and capital requirements - are questionable. For example, the commission plans to require bidders that want to start a new general news or entertainment channel to have at least 300 billion won ($255.4 million) in capital for the venture.

However, a company that size cannot be expected to produce high-quality broadcasting content.

The KCC also remains vague on the number of new channels it plans to introduce. Therefore, it should employ strict guidelines on qualifications in order to sniff out the best applicants.

We hope the commission will narrow the criteria through the planned hearings to come up with reasonable guidelines to pick out operators that are both capable and determined to produce quality broadcasting services.

The most important factor in the upcoming selection process should be fairness, transparency and objectivity.

There will surely be rumors and speculation about controversy due to conflicts of interest involving the businesses applying to launch new TV stations.

And if political considerations are factored into the final criteria for selecting new operators, the controversy will only intensify.

The commission must put its foot down and maintain equilibrium to ensure a fair selection process. It also should stick to its year-end timetable to lend credibility to the project.
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