Why OTT contents like “The Glory” and “In the Name of God” cannot be broadcasted on terrestrial channels

Korean media discuss the reason why projects that include provocative content can only be released on OTT platforms.

The fairness issue in the deliberation between OTT platforms and terrestrial or cable broadcasters by the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KOCSC) has been raised for a while. In particular, OTT platforms have been pointed out to have an advantage in terms of content aspects as they are free from KOCSC’s restrictions. With the recent increase in collaborations between domestic terrestrial broadcasters’ producers and OTT platforms, such as “In the Name of God”, experts suggest that a more appropriate approach to OTT content regulation that reflects the current times is needed, rather than relying on the conventional reviewed concepts.

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OTT platforms are free to make content using provocative materials without restrictions

“The Glory” recently became a global sensation with its blatant portrayals of various social issues, ranging from school violence, illegal drug use, extramarital affairs, explicit exposure, to murder. The documentary “In the Name of God” has also been consistently criticized for its provocative portrayal of reenactment scenes. However, despite criticisms, the two productions successfully aroused discussions and hot topics.

In particular, “The Glory” Part 2 achieved the top spot on Netflix’s Worldwide chart just three days after its release, while “In the Name of God” became the most-viewed show on Netflix Korea. Although these two works succeeded in making headlines with provocative content, their scenes became inappropriate when it comes to airing on terrestrial TV.

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The releases of “The Glory” and “In the Name of God” on Netflix are possible because KOCSC does not review such content separately. On March 20th, a KOCSC official told Edaily, “As far as we know, there is nothing to review in terms of OTT-related content under the current laws.”

According to Article 32 of the broadcasting laws in Korea, KOCSC is responsible for reviewing and approving content for traditional broadcasts and public information distributed through telecommunication channels, to ensure fairness, public interest, and compliance with public responsibilities. According to Article 100, punishments can only be imposed on broadcasting companies, relay cable operators, electronic display operators, and outsourced production companies.

The laws on punishments were revised in 2016, before OTT companies like Netflix and Disney+ entered the Korean market. As a result, OTT content cannot be reviewed by KOCSC without sufficient evidence. However, if a drama like “The Glory” acquires broadcasting rights and wants to air on terrestrial or cable channels, it must undergo a KOCSC review.

This difference in treatment between OTT platforms and terrestrial and cable channels raises concerns about fairness in the reviewing process, as some people in the industry are afraid that an unfair review process could harm the competitiveness of terrestrial and cable content.

“OTT content also requires an approach that can catch up with the current trends”

Producers of terrestrial and cable TV channels in Korea are concerned that excessive attention to regulatory reviews by KOCSC could potentially harm content creation. Along with the development of the Internet, KOCSC has become more strict in reviewing content, leading to concerns that terrestrial and cable TV channels need to make programs that are more in line with viewers’ preferences. 

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Therefore, experts suggest that rather than applying KOCSC reviews to OTT content, a new perspective on content management is necessary. There is also advice that rushing to establish regulations may not be the best approach, and that stakeholders from various fields need to discuss the issue thoroughly considering sufficient time, public opinion, and the global trends of the times.

Source: Daum

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