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KBS World, Arirang TV connect Korea to world audiences

Autumn in My Heart, Winter Sonata and Full House. These are some of the famous Korean television dramas that have won worldwide popularity among international viewers and created the Korean wave, or "Hallyu."

Overseas tourists take photos in front of the poster of KBS drama Winter Sonata.Behind the international success of these dramas among overseas viewers, are the two major broadcasters -- KBS World and Arirang TV.

KBS World, the international television and radio service of Korea’s public broadcaster the Korean Broadcasting System, comprises KBS World Radio and its satellite TV broadcasting system overseas.

Since its maiden transmission of a 15-minute English broadcast on Aug. 15, 1953 under the station name "The Voice of Free Korea" which was later renamed "Radio Korea International" in August 1994, KBS World Radio has been considered the country’s sole foreign language promotional broadcast to the entire world. KBS World Radio now broadcasts in a total of 11 languages, including Korean, Japanese, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Indonesian, Arabic and German.

KBS World television, officially launched on July 1, 2003, is a television channel that mostly transmits programs commissioned for KBS’s two terrestrial networks for both local people and Korean expatriates around the world. Distributed via several broadcasting satellites, as of July 2007, KBS World television is available in 32 countries and reportedly more than 40 million households around the world have access to it. KBS World television runs on a 24-hour schedule with programming ranging from news, sports, dramas, variety shows and children’s programs with English and Japanese subtitles.

Korea Biz Insight by KBS World televisionThanks to the international broadcasting networks, KBS has delighted its overseas viewers with its TV dramas, including Autumn in My Heart, Winter Sonata and Full House, that won popularity among viewers in Asia and on other continents. Korean TV dramas aired by KBS World created international Hallyu fans, mostly in Asia, and leading Hallyu Korean actors and actresses, including Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo of Winter Sonata. These dramas have been aired by nearly 20 overseas broadcasters, including Japan’s NHK, while DVDs of these dramas have been also exported with many language subtitles.

KBS World also strives to promote Korea’s national image abroad by producing contents such as documentary programs or in-depth reports that introduce Korean culture and the advancement of the Korean economy in the world.

In August, KBS World aired a special program on the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Korea to show the democratic state of the country since its founding. It also aired a four-part series The World Best - Made in Korea from Aug. 27 that showed the development of the 60-year-old Korean economy since 1948. The four-part program, subtitled in English, also introduces Korea’s high-tech industries that can serve as a future growth engine. The Korean Culture and Information Service supported the production of this program.

Arirang TV’s program Hand in HandAnother important factor that helped create the Korean Wave is Arirang TV, Korea’s premier English-language network. Launched by the Korea International Broadcasting Foundation in 1997, Arirang TV offers foreigners in Korea practical and cultural tips about Korea with a variety of broadcast contents, including news, entertainment, educational programs, language segments, documentaries, children’s programs and insightful talk shows with leaders from around the world.

Arirang TV can also be viewed in 62,600,000 households on every inhabited continent through eight broadcast satellites. It broadcasts three channels: Arirang World, Arirang Korea and Arirang Arab. Its network strives to be Korea’s messenger to the world by promoting and sharing Korean culture with viewers in more than 188 countries.

Arirang TV produces contents to create harmony and raise awareness of multiculturalism among Korean citizens and non-Korean nationals, including migrant workers.

From Aug. 28, it began to air a 12-part series documentary program titled Happy Together that shows the life stories of migrant workers and foreign spouses, mostly from Asia, who adjust their lives in Korea by interacting with Korean neighbors and co-workers. The Korean Culture and Information Service is supporting the production of the weekly program.

Arirang TV is also planning to further produce broadcast some programs to introduce traditional Korean culture, the multiculturalism taking root in Korea and Korean cultural heritage.

Recently, Arirang TV launched a seven-language subtitle service and English radio news service in Korea. Since April 1 this year, The station delivers news, cultural programs, educational shows and documentaries worldwide via satellite 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It airs English radio news 50 minutes a day, 10 five-minute news bulletins, through YTN FM.

By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer

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