Seoul – A KT senior executive has said that the launch of internet-based TV may need to be delayed until November, due to continued content negotiations. This confirms whispers at the BCWW Conference & Exhibition early September that certain Korean terrestrial channels were playing hard-ball regarding re-transmission deals. While recent regulatory changes now permit internet-TV to offer linear channels in real-time, rather than just pre-IPTV services, the telcos are precluded from programming their own channels and home-grown channels are considered a must-have in a market that favours local fare. KT vice president Yoon Jong-lok told reporters in Seoul that the company still expects its IPTV business to break even in 2011. The company has invested over 1 trillion won (US$866 billion) on the new business since 2007 and plans to invest US$1.5 trillion more over the next five years. Yoon said that although IPTV may be able to begin a commercial service in October, its official launch may be conducted in November. The company aims to double the number of IPTV subscribers to 1.5 million by the end of 2008. KT also expects IPTV subscribers to represent one third of its 6.7 million broadband subscribers after 2011. As of end July 2008, IPTV has 15.3 million subscribers – Hanarotelecom leads with 776,000 customers, followed by KT with 720,000 IPTV subscribers; LG had 40,000 as of end-August.
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