SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: On Friday, Korean wireless carriers announced that some 22 million people are using mobile television in the country, according to The Korea Times. The population of South Korea is estimated at a little less than 48.4 million.
While the viewership is good, the Times reports, however, advertising sales for the medium remain weak and the average revenue per user is declining. The advertising-supported T-DMB services continue to command advertising rates well below that of traditional television, despite some 20 million DMB-capable phones and handheld receivers being in consumers’ hands.
During peak viewing hours—morning and evening commute and during lunch—a 15-second commercial on T-DMB costs about 550,000 won (US$430) compared to over 10 million won (US$7,800) for a similar advert on primetime television.
The six terrestrial DMB broadcasters, including the three major South Korean television networks, reported a total of 8.9 billion won (US$6.9 million) in DMB-related advertising revenue for 2008.
Eureka-147 DMB technology, both satellite- and terrestrial-based, is used for mobile television in South Korea, and DMB has become conventional in mobile handsets. TU Media, a division of mobile telephony company SK Telecom, said for example that its subscription-based S-DMB service now has 2 million subscribers, an increase of 700,000 since the same time last year. The increase was attributed to a new service package that makes some of the satellite-delivered channels available for free. By year-end, TU Media expects to have 2.3 million subscribers; it says 2.5 million subscribers are needed to achieve profitability.