New Korean cable entrants off to glitchy start

Launching a new cable TV channel with immediate quality of service problems is not likely to win you many viewers, and that is exactly what has happened with four new cable TV broadcaster that launched Dec. 1 in Korea.

The four new channels--including Channel A, from Dong-A Ilbo; TV Chosun, run by the Chosun Ilbo; jTBC, broadcast by JoongAng Ilbo; and MBN, run by the Maeil Business Newspaper--greeted new viewers with a variety of quality problems, ranging from disconnection issues to poor sound quality and divided screen images. One of the channels, a 24-hour news network, also appeared to have problems filling its programming hours.

Korea has a healthy appetite for cable TV programming, with 80 percent of households signed up for pay TV. That gives the new channels great market potential, but there has been some criticism that the new players were not given enough time to prepare and test their offerings. The new channels said they are continuing to work on service quality, but viewership in the initial few days of launch was, not surprisingly, below expectations.

All five of the new channels are considered pro-government, and are backed by media giants engaged in heavily promoting them, though local market observers have suggested that as few as two of the new channels may survive in five years.

For more:
-see this Korea Herald post

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