Korea's catch phrase is 'IT Korea ', which is truly fitting. Yet, on the horizon there is another axiom to adopt and that is 'Smart Korea'. Thus, it is likely that many scholars, professors, business leaders, and the media like to take a stab at what is behind Korea's success in becoming a powerful IT country or smart Korea. To establish a smarter Korea, Korea must re-envision its IT policies for the coming decade. And against this backdrop, KORPA will utilize the dynamic use of IT and the creative convergence of technologies to secure a smart environment.
The following are excerpts from an interview with Lew Jae-hong (firstname.lastname@example.org) , CEO of Korea Radio Promotion Agency (KORPA).
Q. KORPA is scheduled to reinvent itself into Korea Communications Agency (KCA) on January 24. What kind of preparations are you making
KORPA's transition to Korea Communications Agency is very significant in that KORPA is transforming itself from a radio promotion agency into an official agency that encompasses broadcasting communications and radio promotion. In particular, we feel a great responsibility fall on our shoulders as KORPA, part of Korea Communications Commission (KCC), is about to become the only Korean agency, tasked with the promotion of the broadcasting sector.
At a time when changes are taking place in the broadcasting, communications and radio sectors, the launch of Korea Communications Agency is of great importance to relevant industries. In particular, in celebration of a "smart" era, the roles of the new Agency will be focused on supporting government policy and policy execution to lay the groundwork for a smart Korea.
The visions of the Agency are also designed in line with a smart Korea. The expansion of Agency's business into broadcasting, communications and radio comes with new roles. Equipped with a new attitude and professional wisdom, we will do our best to upgrade into a future-oriented agency.
Another big change brewing along with the launch of the Agency is that we will assume the role of running the Broadcasting, Communications Promotion Fund, which will be raised this year by the KCC. According to the Basic Broadcasting and Communications Promotion Act that was enacted in March 2010, the Agency will take care of all the work related to the Fund, ranging from collection and operation to management.
The Fund amounts to nearly KRW 540 billion, about half of which will come from the Broadcasting Promotion Fund and the rest from frequency assignment fees (the major source of revenue for the Information, Communications Promotion Fund that has been run by the MKE). Of that, about KRW 440 billion will be poured into the development of broadcasting and communications through fund-raising projects, which will be carried out by the KCC this year.
KORPA has set up a taskforce solely dedicated to the Fund to enhance safety and efficiency. Also, we have attracted professional talent, such as accountants and asset managers, to capitalize on their expertise and knowhow. By building an online management system, KORPA has made both online and offline endeavors to systemically manage the huge amount of fund.
Since the work of R&D planning, management and evaluation (one of the core projects of the Broadcasting and Communications Promotion Fund) will also fall under our responsibility, the R&D Planning Center has been put up. The R&D Planning Center relocated from Donggyo-dong to the headquarters at the end of last year to better manage the Fund through seamless communication.
As a roadmap for the management of the Fund has been completed, the preparatory work to ensure the continuity of the work related to the management of the Fund and R&D projects has been well underway.
Q. This year, some of the Information and Communications Promotion Fund, run by the MKE, will be reshaped into the Broadcasting and Communications Promotion Fund. And your Agency will run that Fund. Could you elaborate on the major policies of the Fund, operational directions and how significant it is for your Agency to run the Fund
With regard to the Broadcasting and Communications Promotion Fund, the KCC has set out the following policy principles: focusing on developing new services, building the world' best infrastructures and realizing a user-friendly communications society.
By running the Broadcasting and Communications Promotion Fund, KORPA will spearhead promoting the broadcasting, communications and radio sectors. In other words, KORPA has been well positioned to lend strong support for the government's push for the convergence of broadcasting and communications and promotional efforts.
The fund for ICT industrial promotion and R&D has been run by both the KCC and the MKE. But starting from this year, as the KCC takes the sole responsibility for running the fund, more proactive responses to the convergence of broadcasting and communications will be anticipated. Our agency will provide full support for running the fund to ramp up the safety, efficiency and transparency of managing the fund.
Q. The newly emerging Agency, as part of the KCC, can be categorized as the only broadcasting promotion agency in Korea. What is your plan to promote the broadcasting sector
Under the 10-Year Broadcast Content Promotion Project, our agency has produced 94 high-quality contents including "the Last Tundra" and "Tears of Africa".
"The Last Tundra" was a special documentary that shed light on the environmental destruction that threatens the lives of nomads living on the Yamal Peninsular of Siberia, while "Tears of Africa" was a sequel to "Tears of Amazon", which was aired in 2009.
Above all, the biggest achievement of the Broadcast Content Promotion Project was the opening of new horizons for Korea's documentary production. Indeed, the domestic broadcasting circles have been emboldened by the progress in Korea's documentary making and viewers with a discerning eye got bowled over by Korea's world-class documentaries.
And a special taskforce was formed to fully support the building of a digital broadcast content support center, which is pushed forward by the government.
Our Agency has already laid the groundwork for creating excellent broadcast and communications contents. We will work hard to make headway in producing broadcast and communications contents and to revitalize the broadcast and communications content industry.
On top of that, as for our agency's existing tasks (such as the convergence of broadcasting and communications; conducting studies on legal systems; provision of support to the broadcasting, communications and radio industries and technical support to SMEs; inspection of radio stations and eligibility verification; promotion of viewers' rights and interests, etc.), we will launch a multi-faceted effort to move forward the existing tasks.
Q. Along with technological advances, Korea's broadcasting and communications environment is changing rapidly. What would the broadcasting and communications industry look like in 2011 and what kind of future tasks does your Agency have to assume
Recently, the domestic and global media environment has been going through a period of change and turbulence
In 2011, the broadcasting and communications industry will be given a makeover. Once the fourth line-up of mobile carriers is selected, competition will get much fiercer. As a result, changes that used to take place over two to three decades will be made within two to three years. Besides, programs created by PPs (Program Provider) and news reports-only channels will be aired in the latter half of 2011.
Above all, the smartphone craze has continued to demolish barriers between broadcasting and communications, expediting the convergence of broadcasting and communications. Therefore, 2011 is expected to serve as a milestone in making Korea smarter.
As aforementioned, we will make our utmost efforts to discover what we can do for a smart Korea. To that end, we plan to set up a smart media taskforce in the policy study headquarters so as to assist with the government's policy for a smart Korea.
Q. We would like to learn about your ambitions.
Things are changing rapidly in and out of Korea. Our agency's bigger tasks and enhanced status will entail new challenges and opportunities, as well as risks. In other words, the newly emerging "smart" environment is a risk and an opportunity at the same time.
To turn the advent of a smart era into an opportunity, not a risk, we will take risks as the leader of smart communications to improve the quality of life. Although Korea's large companies have failed to enjoy the first-mover advantage in the global market, Korean companies are making tangible achievements, raising hopes for a smart Korea.
As CEO of KORPA, I have continuously emphasized the importance of professionalism. All the employees of our agency will try hard to become professionals in their own areas to offer advanced broadcasting, communications and radio services.
Our agency will entrench itself as a leading broadcasting, communications and radio promotion agency that thinks out of the box and is armed with professionalism, an entrepreneurial mindset and humanity-oriented business practices.