Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation

Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Type Broadcast radio and
Country South Korea
Availability South Korea, United States (Satellite, certain metropolitan areas over-the-air)
Owner The Foundation of Broadcast Culture(70%)
Jung-Su Scholarship Foundation(30%)
Key people Kim Jae-Cheol, CEO & President
Launch date December 2, 1961 (radio)
August 8, 1969 (television)
2001 (digital)
2005 (DMB)
Official website
Korean name
Hangul 문화방송주식회사
Hanja 文化放送株式會社
Revised Romanization Munhwa Bangsong Jushikhoesa
McCune–Reischauer Munhwa Pangsong Chushikhoesa

Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC (Hangul : 문화방송주식회사, Munhwa Bangsong Jushikoesa) is one of four major national South Korean television and radio networks. Munhwa is the Korean word for "culture". Its flagship terrestrial television station is channel 11 on VHF in Seoul. Twice government-owned, the network is owned by the Foundation of Broadcast Culture (which owns 70% of the company's stock), while the Jung-Su Scholarship Foundation owns 30%. MBC receives no government subsidy, and derives its income almost entirely from commercial advertising. It has 19 regional stations, and 10 subsidiaries. The network evolved from Busan Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, the first private broadcasting corporation in the country. As of 2011, MBC has over 4,000 employees. It has provided terrestrial digital TV service in the ATSC format since 2001, and T-DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) service since 2005.



Four-story MBC headquarters, with trees in foreground
MBC Headquarters, Yeouido, Seoul, South Korea

MBC began as Busan Munhwa Bangsong (Busan Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, or Busan MBC), and was established in 1959 in Busan, South Korea. The radio station was then owned by Jeong Hwan-ok (a radio-store operator) and Kim Sang-yong (a former department-store owner). Jeong had suggested that Kim open a private broadcasting station; Kim was looking for a new business opportunity, and at that time Japanese stations dominated the south coastal Korean radio dial. On April 15, 1959 the postal ministry authorized Busan MBC to operate, making it Korea's first private commercial broadcaster. Busan MBC began its service with a 1 kW AM station, and became known for broadcasting the first CM Song in South Korea.

The company, however, faced financial problems: production costs for a local radio station were higher than expected, and advertising did not generate sufficient revenue. The network also faced a management crisis. In September 1959 Busan MBC was sold to Kim Ji-tae, who owned the Busan Daily. Its management was revamped, and the network saved from bankruptcy. After the network was rejuvenated, Kim decided to launch a private radio station in Seoul. That year, the postal ministry had approved four private stations. Kim purchased the right to operate a radio station in Seoul and launched a network in 1961, with a small AM station (as of 2011, the chief stockholder of Busan MBC is MBC in Seoul); MBC became the first private broadcasting network in South Korea.

However, the network faced a challenge when Kim was accused by Park Chung-hee (South Korea's then-President) of corruption. Kim was under pressure, and surrendered both Busan MBC and Busan Ilbo to the May 16 Scholarship Foundation in May 1962. Although the network is now managed by the Foundation, MBC has maintained its role as a private broadcaster. It began television broadcasting on August 8, 1969 and FM radio broadcasts in 1971. Under the Chun Doo-hwan regime, South Korea's media policy had changed. The regime had closed several radio and TV networks and MBC was forced to give most of its shares to the government, losing its position as a private broadcaster. On November 14, 1980, 70% of the network's stock was given to the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS).[1]

Partly to address concerns following the country's 1987 democratic reforms, the National Assembly established the Foundation for Broadcast Culture on December 26, 1988 to insulate MBC from political influence and KBS. Now, the network is owned by the Foundation of Broadcast Culture (which owns 70% of the company's stock), while the Jung-Su Scholarship Foundation(former May 16 Scholarship Foundation) owns 30%. MBC has had a jingle since 1969: Korean: "MBC...문화방송", "MBC...Munhwa Bangsong" in romanization and "MBC...Munhwa Broadcasting" in English; it was also used in 1994 for the silver anniversary of MBC-TV.

In 1991, MBC, the first private commercial broadcaster network in South Korea, lost its monopoly when the government's sixth Five-Year Plan allowed the second private commercial broadcaster station to begin broadcasting since forming SBS in SBS Founding on MBC 30th Anniversary, December 2-9, 1991. MBC and SBS celebrated their anniversary at December 1992 in MBC 31st Anniversary and SBS 2nd Anniversary on December 2-9, 1992. It also done in 1996, to celebrate MBC 35th Anniversary and SBS 6th Anniversary and the 21st millenium year news on MBC and SBS.

In 2001, MBC launched satellite and cable television broadcasting. As part of this expansion it created MBC America, a subsidiary based in Los Angeles, California, USA, to distribute its programming throughout the Americas. On August 1, 2008 MBC America launched MBC-D, a television network carried on the digital subchannels of KSCI-TV, KTSF-TV, and WMBC-TV. The service was planned to be launched in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. by the end of the year.[2][3] In northeast metro Atlanta, it aired on WKTB-LD channel 47.3, but as of 2011 is on WSKC-CA channel 22.1.

On October 21, 2011, the heads of MBC and Google signed an agreement of partnership. MBC will release 10,000 hours of content produced before 2005.The files will be divided into 10-minute clips with advertisement in between. MBC is also interested in holding a K-pop concert at the head office of Google to celebrate the partnership. The concert will be broadcast live worldwide through YouTube.[4]

MBC channels

  • 1 terrestrial TV, 3 radio (1 AM, 2 FM)
  • 5 cable (drama, sports, game-show, variety and documentary)
  • 5 satellite (drama, sports, game-show, variety and documentary)
  • 3 terrestrial DMB (TV, radio, data)
  • 2 satellite DMB (drama, sports)

MBC programs


MBC dramas have been part of the "Korean wave".[citation needed] MBC dramas are exported to 30 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Dae Jang Geum has high audience ratings in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; its popularity has continued in 50 countries, including Japan. Other dramas that have enjoyed high viewership include Jumong, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, Yi San and the recent drama, Queen Seondeok.


MBC’s reality program Infinite Challenge has enjoyed high ratings for three consecutive years. The comedians hosting Exclamation! (which ended its run in 2007) have promoted reading, reuniting foreign workers in South Korea with their families and providing medical help to the elderly.

Current affairs and documentaries

MBC documentaries encompass a wide range of issues, from foreign affairs to the environment. PD Notebook premiered in 1990, and has since earned notoriety for its investigations from a journalistic standpoint. Episodes have included one covering scientific fraud by Korean geneticist Hwang Woo-Suk, and another containing arguments against importing US beef.[5] The latter episode, entitled "Is American Beef Really Safe from Mad Cow Disease?", contributed to three months of protest in Seoul against importing US beef. Since then, the accuracy of the episode and the program's method of obtaining information has been questioned.[6][7][8] MBC current-affairs and documentary programs have won recognition from the New York and Banff TV Festivals, the Asian TV Awards, ABU Prizes, Earth Vision and the Japan Wildlife Festival.

News and sports

MBC has 19 regional stations in Korea, 9 permanent overseas bureaus and service arrangements with CNN, APTN, Reuters TV and NBC. It also produces news-analysis programs such as News Magazine 2580, News Who, 100-Minute Debate, Economy Magazine, Global Report and North Korea Report covering the political, economic, social and cultural issues of the day.


iMBC is MBC's website, providing users with information on current and past programs and allowing users to download or stream programs to watch. Established in March 2000 as the internet subsidiary of MBC, iMBC uses the digital content of MBC to provide content to internet, mobile and ISP users and foreign businesses. iMBC also plans projects for creating, developing, and circulating new content. The site offers free and paid VOD services for users to view programs online. While the public-service programs, news, radio and programs currently on-air are free, drama, entertainment, and current-affairs programs are not.

For viewers in Korea and abroad, iMBC offers VOD streaming services. An episode typically costs around ₩500, and there is a fixed fee allowing users to watch as many videos as they wish for ₩4,000 a day or ₩15,000 a month. For users abroad, iMBC offers VOD download and streaming services, available for ₩1000 (about $1 US) each.

Foreign partners

Partner Country
Nine Network Australia
CCTV China
France 2 France
NBT and Channel 5 Thailand
Fuji Television and TV Tokyo Japan
Associated Broadcasting Company Philippines
Indosiar Indonesia
Astro Malaysia
ATV Hong Kong
CBS United States
CTV Taiwan
ZDF Germany

See also


External links



MBC subsidiaries

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