Thanks to the new media industry, such as the Internet, cable television and digital multimedia broadcasting service providers, people in Korea will have a wider choice of how and where to watch the World Cup this year.
Four years ago, soccer fans in Korea did not have much of a choice when it came to how they could watch the World Cup: it was through broadcasts offered by one of the public broadcasters KBS, MBC or SBS.
This year, however, soccer will be available through more diverse platforms.
On a nationwide basis, 18 local digital cable television broadcasters will offer data broadcasting services between June 27 and July 9. The extra data includes schedules of the matches and World Cup-related news.
Broadcasters such as Gangnam Cable TV, HCN, Dream City and TCN Daegu Broadcasting plan to hold various side-events, such as having viewers guess who will win and conducting World Cup photo contests. Several service providers will offer “special services” during the World Cup in which viewers will be able to watch programs “linked” from other sports or action sports channels that are not available on a regular basis.
In particular, digital satellite broadcaster Sky Life will televise all 64 World Cup matches in high definition through its high-definition channel Sky HD. These games will have different commentators than the games televised on public television.
The commentators are Choi Kyung-sik, technical committee member of the Korea Football Association; Song Young-ju, editor of the soccer magazine Soccer Line and professional soccer commentators Kim Gang-nam and Jeong Hyo-woong.
“We will provide scientific and in-depth explanations for hard-core soccer fans, not just glib [remarks]. The professional information we have will differentiate our commentaries,” Mr. Choi said.
TU Media, Korea’s sole satellite digital multimedia broadcaster, is offering special discounts for those who subscribe now. TU Media offers programs that can be viewed on mobile devices such as cell phones; the images do not break even when the user is moving at high speeds on the ground or when traveling in the subway.
Soccer games will also be available through terrestrial DMB. Makers of portable devices have recently released new devices that support terrestrial DMB ― Reigncom has a “pocket TV” with an 2.2-inch LCD screen; LG Electronics released yesterday an MP3 player with DMB reception functions. Terrestrial DMB can also be viewed through phones that support the service.
Meanwhile, on the Internet, Daum has acquired exclusive Internet broadcasting rights. The company signed a contract with Infront Sports & Media AG, the official agency of the FIFA World Cup broadcasting rights, and became the licensed broadcaster for official Web and mobile videos. Daum will set up a studio within the International Broadcasting Center in Germany and send video programs to studios in Seoul.
The near-live edited movie clips will be broadcast over the Web on its “FIFA World Cup Exclusive Channel” and will be available through streaming or downloads on mobile phones. Daum spent about $3 billion won ($3.2 million) in marketing costs to offer these services.
Because this disables other Internet portals from broadcasting World Cup games on their sites, they are busy trying to find other ways.
Yahoo Korea said that it will offer clips of game highlights and real-time text-messaging services.
NHN, which operates the portal Naver, is conducting various online events focused on the cheering involved in the games.
by Wohn Dong-hee