| This year marks the second anniversary of the launch of four cable TV channels including Dong-A Media Group`s Channel A, TV Chosun, JTBC and MBN, as they broke the long monopoly of terrestrial TV channels. Cable TV channels have grown rapidly along with the fast changing sociopolitical environment demanding comprehensive TV channels embrace reporting coverage, entertainment and other cultural content. Cable TVs reached daily average viewing rate of 1 percent in just one year after launch, and currently have 6 percent range rate when summing up the four channels. The Korean Association of Party Studies announced that the number of voters at last year`s presidential election got related information from cable TV programs just a bit less than the three terrestrial TV counterparts.
Channel A gained popularity through a series of special coverages on personnel appointment and verification for the new government. While it was the first to report on the suspicion of the first son of prime minister candidate Kim Yong-joon, which led to his resignation, Channel A also took initiative in reporting the hidden assets of former President Chun Doo-hwan. On cable TV news programs, media information Professor Yoon Seok-min at Seoul National University said, "They reported various issues and figures in rich content and format that went beyond considering theoretial values of conservatives and progressives."
Civic groups including People`s Coalition for Media Reform argue cable TVs` whare of reporting is too high, but it is positive to make such coverages instead of weighting too much on time-killing entertainment content. The current broadcasting law demands below 50 percent coverage of entertainment programs in total monthly broadasting time. Cable TVs covered 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with current issue and in-depth discussion programs when terrestrial TVs regarded the time as a throw away. Viewers of the 50s and over who were neglected by terrestrial TVs say they could nurture insights on national and social issues through cable TVs.
Still in its second year, cable TVs may still be immature but should not be undervalued so as to depress morale. There is dominant view that cable TVs can surpass their terrestrial counterparts considering the good performance they have achieved in the last two years. The broadcasting market is widening and more young people are flocking to get jobs in broadcasting content industries. Cable channels need to keep up efforts to grow into a pivot engine of the global cultural Korean Wave industry through a more balanced and various reporting.