Seoul – Korea’s National Assembly has passed the long-awaited IPTV bill on Dec 28 to allow full IPTV services to be launched in the country. The new bill allows real-time Internet streaming of TV programmes being aired by terrestrial broadcasters to complete ‘pre-IPTV’ services already offered by telcos, as well as facilitates the addition of interactive services including e-commerce, multimedia messaging and video conferencing. The bill also splits regulatory responsibilities for the IPTV platform between the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Korean Broadcasting Commission, ending a legislative impasse of almost four years as both parties sought to regulate the new media platform. Prior to the government’s nod, ‘pre-IPTV’ services including KT’s Mega TV, Hanaro Telecom’s Hana TV and LG Dacom’s myLGtv did not provide real-time broadcasts and were akin to VOD services where TV programs were offered with delays of hours or even days after actual terrestrial broadcasts. Currently, HanaTV, launched in July 2006, leads the market with 800,000 subs, and mobile operator SK Telecom’s proposed acquisition of 39.8% stake in Hanarotelecom for US$1.2 billion is being reviewed by the Fair Trade Commission. KT’s MegaTV which debuted in June 2007 has 300,000 subs and expects to secure 1.5 million subs before 2009. Launched in Dec 2007, myLGtv, aims to grow its subs base to 200,000 in 2008.
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