Now, that might seem like an obscure thing to be happy about, but I assure you this is great news. You see, the Korea Broadcast Advertising Corporation currently is responsible for all aspects of TV advertising in Korea. It sets the rates and times for ads, collects the money and doles it out, all in one shop. And only KOBACO is allowed to do this. The result is the highly regulated, uncompetitive, and bizarre thing we call Korean television.
Of course, KOBACO justifies what it does in the name of "fairness" (as bureaucrats always do). But the result of KOBACO is anything but fair.
Years ago, a former ad guy told me that KOBACO is a "zombie corporation" -- that is, it is already dead, but it keeps on moving. In fact, the government passed legislation what would have ended KOBACO's monopoly back in 2001, but that was not enough to kill it either.
Everybody knows that it is a relic from Korea's authoritarian past, but the government loved KOBACO, and was loath to give it up. It was set up under Chun Doo-hwan to keep control over Korea's television stations (way back before SBS began and long before anyone had even thought of cable TV).
The government tried to dress up KOBACO and make it pretty -- for example, it must use a certain percentage (around 6%) of revenues for public projects. The Press Center, the Korean Broadcasters Center, and the Seoul Arts Center were all built using KOBACO money (and the Arirang TV building).
With KOBACO's monopoly coming to an end in 2009, this could potentially really open up the Korean TV markets. Which should mean more money for the TV channels, more money for TV programs, and then hopefully better TV programs. And, if we are really lucky, we might get some more diversity, too.