JoongAng leads TV broadcasting license winnersJoongAng Media Network was given the highest assessment by the nation’s broadcast regulator among media company candidates who were awarded licenses yesterday to operate new general programming channels, which are expected to go on-air in the second half of the year.
The Korea Communications Commission selected JMnet, along with three other media consortiums affiliated with the country’s main daily newspapers, to enter the broadcasting sector, which had been barred to them for 30 years, in what amounts to a Big Bang for the media industry.
The other successful applicants included Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo and Maeil Business Newspaper, while Yonhap News Agency was given a license for an all-news cable television channel.
Two other consortiums failed to get licenses to operate channels with general programming - such as news, dramas, entertainment, sports and documentaries - which has been the exclusive preserve of the nation’s three terrestrial broadcasters, KBS, MBC and SBS, until now.
JMnet’s broadcaster, which will be named jTBC, scored the highest in the evaluation scheme used by the KCC’s screening panel, with a score of 850 out of 1,000, with Chosun, Dong-A and Maeil trailing behind in that order.
Applicants for the general programming license were required to have a minimum score of 800 and at least 300 billion won ($255 million) in paid-in capital to cover broadcast operating expenses for one year.
The qualification criteria focused on the ability to be fair and responsible and to serve the public interest as well as measuring their competitiveness in terms of content and capital.
Korea Economic Daily and Taekwang Group failed to achieve the minimum scores for general broadcasting rights.
Yonhap was only one among five applicants to gain the cable news license, which required a minimal capital investment of 40 billion won.
Korea now has two cable news channels, YTN and MBN. But MBN, operated by Maeil Business Newspaper, will be merged into its owner’s new general programming channel.
The new television program providers “are required to promote the quality of Korean culture in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, where hallyu [Korean Wave] has been spreading. They also need to boost global competitiveness based on excellent broadcasting content,” KCC Chairman Choi See-joong said in announcing the new license winners at a news conference.
The expansion of the broadcasting industry comes as the government wants to boost the country’s media and advertising markets. “The time has come when media competitiveness is tantamount to national competitiveness,” Choi said. Newspapers operated broadcasting channels until 1980, when they were confiscated by the military government of Chun Doo Hwan to increase its media control.
By Kim Hyung-eun [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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