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Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Ads Create Controversy

Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Ads Create Controversy

Posted May. 02, 2005 23:53,   


The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has decided to map out measures to allow a middle ad of the terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), drawing controversy.

Minister Chung Dong-chea held a policy meeting at KBS headquarters in Yeouido on May 2, attended by DMB operators, DMB content producers, mobile phone operators, and terminal manufacturers. After the meeting, the minister announced a plan to support the DMB industry, which includes allowing middle ads for terrestrial DMB.

In order to boost terrestrial DMB, a remedy such as allowing middle ads, already allowed for its rival satellite DMB, will be prepared for terrestrial DMB, according to the minister.

“Terrestrial DMB is a new media, but is categorized as terrestrial broadcasting, so it is not allowed to air middle ads, which can be seen as stricter regulation than its rival is facing,” said Song Su-geun, manager of the broadcasting advertisement department of the ministry. The ministry will consult with the Korea Broadcasting Commission to fund terrestrial DMB, which is in its incipient stage with an uncertain prospective business future, according to Song.

“Due to their short running times, middle ads are necessary to increase the exposure frequency of advertisements. Besides middle ads, other ads aired during station breaks and shown as subtitles need to be operated in a different way than general terrestrial broadcasting ads are,” said a person involved with the DMB team of the Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation.

The allowance of middle ads for terrestrial DMB requires and amendment to Article 59 of the enforcement ordinance of the Broadcasting Law by the Korea Broadcasting Commission, which regulates the types and lengths of ads.

However, the commission is skeptical about the ministry’s plan. Kim Jeong-su, the director of Policy Department Two of the commission said that the enforcement ordinance related to terrestrial DMB was made last September in accordance with terrestrial broadcasting. Under the circumstance that there has been no noticeable changes since then, the discussion regarding the allowance of middle ads is too sudden, and the commission has not made any decision yet.

The broadcasting industry shares the view that middle ads would distract viewers because DMB programs have only about five to 20 minutes of running time, too short to be cut by middle ads. They say that more cautious approaches are needed. “Policies must be based on the position of the viewers, and this dispute should not create a precedent allowing middle ads in terrestrial broadcasting,” said journalism and communications professor Kim Jae-beom of Hanyang University.

Jung-Bo Suh suhchoi@donga.com