6 media companies vie for TV station

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6 media companies vie for TV station

The curtain’s up for prospective broadcasters, and it’s finally time for them to show what they’ve got.

The Korea Communications Commission, the country’s communications and broadcasting regulator, accepted business proposals on Tuesday and yesterday from companies seeking to break into the broadcasting industry in the hopes of emerging as a larger, more influential media group.

The KCC confirmed yesterday evening that six media companies have submitted boxes of detailed business proposals. They are JoongAng Media Group, Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo, Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea Economic Daily and Taekwang Group. Each has formed a consortium to raise the capital needed for its proposed broadcasting venture.

They will be vying to operate cable television channels that will be allowed to broadcast general programming. Currently, only three terrestrial broadcasters - KBS, MBC and SBS - are authorized to do so.

The name of the JoongAng Media Group’s broadcaster and channel will be jTBC.

Meanwhile, five other media companies, including Yonhap News Agency, Herald Media and CBS, have submitted proposals to get a green light to operate all-news channels. Korea currently has only two such networks: YTN and Maekyung Broadcasting Network.

The proposals contained specifics on how the companies will fund their plans and set up operators for their proposed channel, as well as their vision, objectives and their past experiences for their venture.

In July 2009, new media laws passed by the National Assembly came after months of controversy over allowing newspaper companies and conglomerates to invest in the broadcasting business for the first time in 30 years since the practice was banned by the military government to curb the power of the press.

The KCC announced in August that it would consider giving broadcasting licenses to all applicants who have 300 billion won ($261 million) in capital.

While KCC had been mum on the number of companies that will receive licenses, KCC head Choi See-joong said on Tuesday that the regulatory body will not place a limit.

“If companies score over 80 [points in the review] we will allow them to enter the business, and if none scores over 80, none will get the license,” he said.

The KCC’s evaluation panel hopes to announce a decision by the year’s end. “We will review the opinions of related organizations and viewers ... to decide who will be chosen as the operator [of the new channels],” the KCC said in a statement.

By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]
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