Korea Communications Commission (Yonhap)
The government will allow commercial breaks for terrestrial broadcasters beginning this week as part of efforts to buttress the industry suffering from falling ad revenues, officials said Wednesday.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said a revised enforcement ordinance of the Broadcasting Act, aiming to allow all networks to broadcast commercials during programs, will take effect Thursday.
Terrestrial broadcasters have been prohibited from such advertising since 1973 for the sake of viewer rights. They have complained of being discriminated against in the face of stiff competition with cable TV and other media platforms that are free from the regulation.
Terrestrial TV networks have circumvented the ban by dividing shows in parts and airing commercials in between.
Their ad revenue declined 9 percent year-on-year to just over 1 trillion won (US$885 million) last year, the state regulator said Tuesday.
Under the new rule, broadcasters will be allowed to show one commercial break for programs lasting more than 45 minutes and two for over 60-minute programs.
If shows are longer than 90 minutes, one commercial break will be allowed for every 30 minutes, but the total number must not exceed six.
A commercial break must not exceed one minute in length.
"The revision of the enforcement ordinance is expected to induce balanced development among media outlets and inject vigor into the broadcasting market," said Han Sang-hyuk, chairman of the KCC.
"We will expedite regulatory reforms to revitalize the broadcasting industry while forging a regulatory environment in which the public nature of broadcasting and viewer rights are sufficiently protected." (Yonhap)