2018 Volume 68 Issue 2 Pages 2-13
Taking the opportunity of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games that starts from the 9th of February, TV broadcasters in the Republic of Korea are striving to promote high definition terrestrial 4K television broadcasting. In South Korea, more than 90% of the entire households now subscribe to pay channels such as CATV, satellite television, and IPTV, and the terrestrial televisions’ share is keep declining in terms of advertising revenues, too, which has prompted terrestrial broadcasters to deploy 4K broadcasts to regain their power. In promoting terrestrial 4K broadcasts, they are faced with several challenges that include not only the expansion of areas to cover and the dissemination of TV sets and receivers but also issues regarding rebroadcasts on pay channels. Given the current situation that households directly receiving the terrestrial 4K broadcasting account only for 5%, rebroadcast on pay channels is indispensable for more people to enjoy the 4K high definition images of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. However, while terrestrial TV broadcasters are planning a drastic hike in rebroadcast fees to recover investment in the development and promotion of 4K, pay channels have expressed reservations about it, and now the terrestrial broadcasters are the one who is refusing the rebroadcasts. Meanwhile, some people attribute the declination of terrestrial TV stations to “political intervention” in these broadcasters, especially KBS and MBC. For KBS, seven out of eleven board members were nominated by the government or the ruling party, which allegedly makes it difficult to report news against the government wishes. MBC is faced with the same problem. So, the notion that “terrestrial TV stations are not reporting neutral news” is spreading among the public. South Korea has been leading the world in pursuing the practical use of 4K broadcasts and is trying to invigorate the industries dealing with terrestrial 4k broadcasts by keeping its position as the world leader in this field. Still, if terrestrial TV stations—the key players—cannot present a concrete business model, it may become difficult to see a bright future.