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O`seas Korean Channel Founder Speaks to Dong-A

Posted October. 20, 2009 09:16,   


Cable TV providers in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and San Francisco, four cities with high ethnic Korean populations, offer a channel devoted to Korean programming such as news and soap operas.

tvK broadcasts TV programs produced in Korea and its own Korean programs 24 hours a day for eight million subscribers.

In a Dong-A Ilbo interview at Dong-A Media Center in central Seoul, tvK President Eric Yun said, “I will make tvK a representative channel helping Koreans secure political backup in the United States.”

Immigrating to the U.S. in his second year of middle school, Yun majored in accounting at the University of California-Los Angeles and worked for financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch and UBS.

He established tvK in 2005 after deciding that the broadcast market has great growth potential while taking charge of media M&As.

When asked to introduce tvK, Yun emphasized the significance of a broadcast network, saying a channel can survive only when a broadcast network is secured.

“To secure a broadcast network, tvK bought 25 percent of the top U.S. cable provider Comcast. I’m planning to provide the channel to 15 million households by the end of next year.”

In the U.S., tvK is the only Korean channel offered without additional charge. Korea’s three terrestrial broadcast networks have advanced to the U.S. market, but their programming can be accessed only via satellite pay channels whose subscribers number between 30,000 and 40,000.

Yun visits Seoul to buy programs and seek partners for a new channel called “tvK2.” “tvK focuses on news, soap operas and sport but tvK2 will aim for the young generation with movies, entertainment and music videos,” he said. “I’m also planning to air programs on real estate and stock information.”

Since Yun secured the broadcast network, his next goal is to develop popular content in the second phase of his business model. “I secured the right to broadcast LPGA Tour events and covered five events live in Korean. tvK will broadcast 19 events next year,” he said.

He is also taking advantage of the Korean Wave, or the popularity of Korean pop culture, to create a soap opera fund and produce soap operas. In the U.S., Comcast operates 27 Asian-themed channels such as those from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Yun said he will encourage Asian channel providers to establish a fund, hire Korean studios to create soap operas, and broadcast them in Asian nations.

“It’ll be a win-win strategy since broadcast stations of Asian nations will have the copyrights and Korean studios will provide their soap operas for a large number of clients instead of negotiating only with Korea’s terrestrial broadcast networks,” he said. “The fun will also help tvK carry popular Korean soap operas live in the U.S.”

On the revision of Korean media law and the promise of channels in the country, Yun said, “Though a bit late, the number of channels should be increased for the growth of Korea’s content industry.”

He also spoke of his vision for tvK’s future. “In the U.S., the Hispanic population is 25 million. But they were treated as part of the mainstream society only after a Latin broadcast station appeared. I hope tvK will play the same role for Koreans in the U.S.,” he said.

“tvK has attracted ads from large corporations such as Starbucks, McDonalds and Toyota instead of depending solely on Korean companies. That means we’re taking advantage of the purchasing power and influence of Koreans. Instead, we’re trying to represent the political stance of Koreans.”