SK Broadband and LG Dacom joined KT Corp. in providing commercial internet protocol television services yesterday. With the addition of the two, all of the country's three IPTV service providers have now begun commercial services.
SK Broadband secured retransmission rights to programs produced by KBS and MBC on Dec. 11 and reached an agreement with the private broadcasting company SBS on the following day.
Over the course of the month, the company secured various other content providers and fully launched its IPT service Broad & TV with 23 channels yesterday.
LG Dacom's IPTV service myLGtv was launched with 21 channels including the three terrestrial television stations, news and educational channels, music and religious channels.
However, as the two companies have not yet secured retransmission rights to programs produced by private provincial television stations, SBS programs will not be available for Broad & TV and myLGtv subscribers outside of Seoul and surrounding regions. Both LG Dacom and SK Broadband are planning to secure additional channels.
The monthly fee for LG Dacom's basic IPTV package is 14,000 won ($11) and SK Broadband is charging 14,000 won per month for its basic package.
For now, KT's Mega TV, which went into commercial service in mid November, is the only IPTV service to provide programs from SBS's provincial branches across the nation. In addition to having secured retransmission rights to programs from all terrestrial television stations, Mega TV provides 40 channels including the 10 channels operated by cable television company On Media. Mega TV's monthly fee for the basic package is 16,000 won.
Although the three companies' prices are in similar ranges, the IPTV service providers are expected to begin a fierce price competition in February when services allowing subscribers to pick and choose channels will be launched. In addition, as the Korea Communications Commission links other telecommunications services with IPTV and encourages larger discounts for consumers, the price war among the three firms is expected to heat up.
According to industry projections, 2 million households are expected to subscribe to IPTV by the end of the year.
By Choi He-suk