Despite healthy levels of viewership, the latest reports suggest that advertising levels on South Korea's Digital Multimedia Broadcasting services are not providing enough income to sustain the business. As a result, according to The Korea Times , the nation's six terrestrial DMB operators are considering halting their coverage on subway lines in a desperate move to shed costs and keep the business afloat. Less than three years ago they had jointly invested to complete transmission networks in subway lines, allowing commuters to watch World Cup football games.
The number of viewers has not been a problem. About one-third of all Koreans have access to mobile television, dubbed digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) here, with free terrestrial DMB services garnering around 16 million users and another 1.8 million subscribed to satellite-based DMB, a pay-T.V. service provided by TU Media.
Instead, finding reliable revenue streams for the DMB services has been the major challenge. Since terrestrial DMB services are free for users with television-enabled terminals, advertising is the only source of revenue for the operators.