By Han Sang-hee
Korea will be the first nation to produce a new combined program ratings system from various media such as DMB (digital multimedia broadcasting), cable television and even VOD (Video on Demand).
Program ratings institute AGB Neilson Media Research announced that they were implementing a new system where program makers could identify a show's real popularity based on ratings from various media.
"Program ratings have to change in such an environment where there are so many different media. They have to be measured by various means, just like music programs where they come up with ratings based on radio runs, album sales and music source sales on the Internet", AGB Neilson's director Ha Sun-cheol said at a press conference in central Seoul last week.
Many Korean viewers don't watch television programs through normal televisions anymore. Many watch them through their DMB phones while commuting, while others download programs from Internet Web sites. These new habits have made it difficult to come up with real ratings, but now, thanks to AGB Neilson and the digital date broadcast service firm Alticast, viewers, broadcasters and producers can be informed of the most popular program based on the results from various media.
"The need for a new program rating system has soared as broadcasting and digital communication have mixed together, and individuals started to possess their own personal medium", he added.
Currently, program ratings are generated from households. Viewers are given meter boxes that analyze the television channels and programs each household watches. AGB Neilson has been producing program ratings depending on media, such as normal analogue television, cable or satellite television from 2006, and they are looking into bringing more to their list.
"Even when the viewers are watching KBS2, the results come out different. Some watch the channel through cable, while others through satellite. We will be able to bring more variety by including DMB and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)", Kim Geum-ju, executive director from the institute, told The Korea Times.
In the case of VOD, the company will analyze the download information Web sites save.
"This is the first (program) to happen in Korea and we are looking forward to a more dynamic market in terms of broadcasting and media use", Ha said.