Four major new TV broadcasting networks debuted simultaneously on December 1 in a so-called “Big Bang” marked by a joint inaugural event at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.
The four new networks are JoongAng Ilbo’s JTBC, Dong-A Ilbo’s Channel A, Chosun Ilbo’s TV Chosun and Maeil Business’ MBN. They will join the four existing national TV networks KBS, MBC, SBS and the educational channel EBS. Additionally, about a dozen smaller corporate channels, most of which are affiliated with SBS, were launched since 1990 when the government deregulated the broadcast industry.
In addition to the new general broadcast networks, a 24-hour all-news channel was also launched on the same day by Yonhap News Agency.
New broadcast channel JTBC is actually the reincarnation of the Samsung group’s Tongyang Broadcasting Company, the nation’s first private broadcaster. TBS was shut down and its operations were merged into the government-operated KBS in 1980 by the military regime of Chun Doo Hwan. JoongAng Ilbo, JTBC’s parent, is a member of the Samsung group, and is known as the most conservative among the nation’s three leading newspapers.
“The key to a smart era is content full of creativity and imagination,” said a congratulatory video message sent by President Lee Myung-bak to be aired at the joint inaugural ceremony. “I hope the launch of the new broadcasters will be an opportunity to enrich broadcasting content and build Korean broadcasters into global media companies.”