Korea Communications Commission says global appeal key to broadcasting bids
October 31st, 2009 - 17:38 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

The key to winning a bid to operate a new broadcasting business in South Korea will depend on vision and the potential to become a global media group, according to the chairman of the Korea Communications Commission, which oversees the selection of new broadcasters.

In a meeting with reporters yesterday, Choi See-joong talked about how the commission will proceed with the selection of new broadcasters based on the revised media industry reform laws. The Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the controversial laws, which opened the way for newspaper companies and conglomerates to enter the country’s broadcasting business, were valid despite procedural flaws at the National Assembly’s voting.

“First, the biggest goal is pumping up the advertisement volume of the nation’s media market,” Mr Choi said. “And secondly, the key is what methods will allow us to create a global media group.”

He said his commission will deliberate on how to overcome language barriers and develop content that will appeal to the world. “The company that will operate a new broadcaster must meet such standards,” he said. “Language barriers can be overcome with effective storytelling,” Mr Choi said. “Whether it is an existing broadcaster or a new company, I expect to see one capable of overcoming barriers and becoming a global media group with a future.”

Mr Choi said the commission will launch a task force on Monday to push forward the project, but nothing is decided on when the selection will be made. The revised media laws take effect Sunday. The task force will be formed by officials from the Korea Communications Commission who have experience in broadcasting. The task force will decide key policies regarding the selection.

An advisory group of lawmakers, scholars and media industry specialists will also be formed to assist the task force, which will collect public opinion and survey the demands for new broadcasters as well as create specific selection criteria. Determining the number of new broadcasters that will begin operations is another main task. The communications commission has said selection will be based on the proposals submitted by the bidders.

Mr Choi said it will be technically difficult to select the new broadcasting service operators before the end of this year, but rebuffed speculation that it will be politically burdensome for the commission to announce the decision ahead of local elections next June. “Why would [making the decision before the elections] be burdensome?” Mr Choi asked, a remark which prompted the interpretation that the selection may be made before June.