Broadcast responsibilitiesThe year of the media big bang has begun. South Korea’s media industry can now finally spread and stretch itself. The newcomers to the industry announced by the Korea Communications Commission will likely provide the impetus to recreate the media landscape.
Newspaper organizations JoongAng Media Network, Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo and Maeil Business Newspapers won licenses to operate cable TV channels running a full variety of programs from entertainment to news. Yonhap News Agency also added a news channel on cable.
The awardees of new broadcasting licenses pledged to provide creative and diverse media content to expand viewers’ choices and committed to enhancing public good and social responsibility. We hope the new forays can upgrade the quality of media programs and pave the way to greater inroads into overseas markets.
The commission scrutinized bidders based on their potential in being competitive in the global market, their ability to create content, how diversified they were and their ability in converging media. But the process was controversial due to conflict of interests. The media law that broadened the broadcasting industry was reviewed by the Constitutional Court twice. But despite the hitches, the government kept to its promise by awarding new licenses before the year ended.
The public and viewers can now enjoy the benefits of variety and better quality content programs. Related industries - content, new media, broadcasting equipment and advertising - now have a bigger industry to do business with. The three terrestrial broadcasters, KBS, MBC and SBS, will now have to surrender their long-held grip on viewership and advertising.
The terrestrial broadcasters have long been under fire for negligent management and ideological preferences by exploiting their dominant share of the airwaves. The government must provide systematic support so that the newcomers add new breadth to the television industry and compete fairly with the terrestrial old guards.
The realignment of the media industry should serve to enhance the global competitiveness of the broadcasters. Through fierce competition at home, local broadcasters must trot out high-quality content that can win over the eyeballs of global viewers. They also should develop programs specifically to meet the tastes of overseas viewers. The new licensing will be meaningless if it only ends up adding a couple of new channels.