KBS to Overcome Financial Challenges to Emerge as an Outstanding Organisation

21st December 2023
KBS conducted a critical workshop on 28 November, 2023 to address its financial challenges. The event, attended by President and CEO Park Min along with over 190 executives, served as a platform to discuss challenges and strategies in response to the impending separate collection of licence fees. 
The KBS logo on the side of its HQ building.
KBS is the main public broadcaster for South Korea. Credit: KBS
This press release was originally published by KBS and is republished with permissions.

The workshop featured presentations across five key areas: Licence Fees, Budget, Human Resources, News, and Programming and Production. In his address, President and CEO Park stated, “Exceptional organizations are those that have overcome unpredictable or uncontrollable crises”. He emphasized, “This moment is a crucial turning point for KBS, marking its transition from good to great”.

Read more: KBS unveils AI-powered VVERTIGO

KBS expects deficit to exceed 340 billion won next year: Initiates rigorous Phase I and II internal strategies

KBS finds itself at a critical juncture in its financial status. This year alone, KBS projects a net loss of approximately 80.2 billion won (USD 61.08 million), primarily attributed to declining advertising revenues and licence fee incomes. With an anticipated 30% reduction in revenue due to separate billing of licence fees next year, KBS expects the deficit to exceed 340 billion won (USD 250 million). Facing the possibility of capital impairment within the next two years without extraordinary intervention, KBS has developed rigorous Phase I and II internal strategies. These strategies aim to address the challenges posed by licence fee issues and to strengthen KBS’ competitiveness in the media industry.

KBS embarks on overhaul of human resources system: Considering exceptional voluntary retirement program

KBS Human Resources is considering three crisis response strategies. Its primary approach is a comprehensive overhaul of the existing rank structure and promotion system. This strategy focuses on reducing the number of higher-level positions while simultaneously enhancing the manager training program. In addition, it is also considering an exceptional voluntary retirement program for employees with over 20 years of service. Furthermore, the department is also reviewing plans for personnel reassignment to effectively manage the expected increase in workload related to licence fee operations.

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KBS is committed to fair and trusted broadcasting

KBS News and Sports has outlined a five-point strategy to ensure fair and trusted broadcasting. This strategy includes:

  • Enhancing accuracy in broadcasting.
  • Eliminating misinformation to restore public trust.
  • Creating impartial news by maintaining objectivity and reflecting diverse perspectives.
  • Reorganising newsgathering and production system to strengthen fact-checking capabilities.
  • Ensuring unbiased newsgathering.

KBS News and Sports is also committed to prioritizing KBS’ role as the nation’s primary emergency broadcaster, aiming to minimize damage to citizens’ lives and property during emergencies.

KBS pursues innovation for a more efficient and flexible programming system

KBS Programming suggested ‘Efficiency’, ‘Flexibility’, and ‘Profitability’ as the three key words to surmount the crisis. The division plans to implement a comprehensive content evaluation system, prioritizing performance metrics to inform decisions regarding the cancellation of TV programs. Furthermore, it intends to root out old practices of allocating vacant time slots to content from the same production team, opting for a more practical programming strategy. Above all, the critical aspect of the new approach is retaining talent. The division plans to offer exceptional incentives to its creative workforce, aiming to prevent talent drain and enhance the overall competitiveness of its content.

“Exceptional organizations are those that have overcome unpredictable or uncontrollable crises. This moment is a crucial turning point for KBS, marking its transition from good to great,” – Park Min, KBS CEO

KBS aims to maximize public service: Strategic reduction in production costs

KBS Content Product unveiled three innovative strategies: maximizing public service, reducing production costs, and actively seeking sponsorship and investment opportunities. To maximize public service, the division will make strategic investments in producing high-quality programs, such as large-scale dramas. It will also significantly reduce production costs through a comprehensive evaluation mechanism, and minimize external casting expenses by utilizing in-house talents as program hosts. Additionally, the division is geared towards aggressively seeking sponsorships and investments to further reduce KBS’ financial input in production, and considering a comprehensive sponsorship model that is not limited to the scope of individual programs.

KBS establishes special committees to navigate through financial crisis

KBS has announced the formation and operation of special committees to deal with its financial crisis and TV licence fee issues. The ‘Special Committee on Managing Financial Crisis‘ is committed to developing robust strategies to overcome financial difficulties arising from the separation of TV licence fees from electricity bills, and to steer KBS out of the prolonged deficit cycle. Additionally, the ‘Special Committee on Handling Separate Collection of TV Licence Fees,’ focuses on identifying effective and audience-friendly methods for licence fee collection, aiming to minimize public inconvenience and confusion resulting from the systemic changes.