The Korea Broadcast Advertising Corp. (Kobaco), Korea's sole television advertisement sales agency, said it wants to become a comprehensive media consulting firm as it celebrated its 30th anniversary yesterday.
The state-run media agency is facing changes, as it will lose its three-decade monopoly on TV advertising because of media reforms going into effect this year.
Referring to the forthcoming changes, Kobaco President Yang Hwee-boo said that "there has been criticism concerning [our] monopoly, and Kobaco has been in thorough preparation for future competition ever since the decision of the Constitutional Court two years ago".
In 2008, the Constitutional Court ruled that Kobaco's exclusive hold on brokering TV advertising sales was unconstitutional.
Yang outlined a two-stage plan for the agency. "We will first transform into a comprehensive media representative that goes beyond simple sales to providing complex consulting services in one place. Moreover, we will build new advertising platforms befitting the smart age, thereby causing our advertising industry to solidify and expand its size".
Kobaco was established in January 1981 under the military dictatorship of Chun Doo Hwan, shortly after his government confiscated TV stations from private owners, including newspaper groups. Since then, it has held a monopoly on TV advertising sales.
The rise of diverse media in the last decade raised questions about the validity of Kobaco's position. "Despite concerns over the drawbacks of a monopoly, it is hard to reform the old structure as Kobaco has been able to fulfill many public benefits such as protecting weaker media [by ensuring their profits]", said a broadcasting industry expert.