Broadcasting road map detours on the details

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Broadcasting road map detours on the details

The government yesterday unveiled comprehensive measures for broadcasting industry development after a delay of almost a week, but details on many of the controversial issues were missing.

Three related policy agencies - the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the Korea Communications Commission, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism - were set to publicly announce the road map last Thursday, but canceled the night before.

When asked about reasons for the delay, officials said yesterday the final fine tuning of the measures could not be completed by the original date.

The three government institutions also vowed yesterday to earmark a combined 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) on key businesses related to the measures.

This is the first time in 14 years the government has come up with comprehensive measures concerning broadcasting. The plans are expected to boost the size of the local broadcasting industry by 43.9 percent to 19 trillion won in four years, according to estimates.

Regarding opening doors for controversial commercial breaks, however, the government institutions were vague, saying only that the issue is still in discussion. Broadcast stations - KBS, MBC, SBS and EBS, to name a few - have demanded to be allowed to run commercial breaks as currently done by cable TV operators and general programming networks such as JTBC, owned by the JoongAng Media Network, and tvN. The big broadcasters are estimated to control more than 60 percent of the TV advertising market.

But the committee did point out that fierce competition in the advertising market has hurt the profitability of broadcasters. Over the period between 2002 and 2012, their combined revenue fell 2 percent, according to the KCC.

The government changed its stance on whom to allow to run ultra high-definition (UHD) broadcasting. Whereas the draft of the measures unveiled Nov. 4 showed only smaller paid channels will be allowed to air the UHD-based programs at first as part of premium customer service, the three government agencies said yesterday it would give the okay to all TV channel operators including major broadcasters that are “prepared.”

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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