A Discussion on Digital Media Broadcasting in Korea

25 Apr

In the United States, streaming live video to a mobile device is a fairly new and cumbersome process. Verizon’s V-Cast has allowed users to stream live TV over 3G onto mobile devices. In 2005, Korea launched a service called Digital Media Broadcasting (DMB). DMB allows for the transmission of live TV and data to mobile devices, such as cell phones, car navigation systems, and laptops. It comes in two forms, terrestrial (free), and satellite ($14 a month). The Satellite-DMB provides more channels and has better reception compared to Terrestrial-DMB. In 2009, a study called “Motivators for the intention to use mobile TV: A comparison of South Korean males and females” was conducted to examine how different genders view DMB in Korea, and the possible implications for marketing the service.

The responses from the 256 undergraduate students surveyed in Korea came in the form of both quantitative and qualitative data. The authors of the study hypothesized that uses and gratification motivators for DMB users would include entertainment, social interaction, permanent access, pass time, and fashion and status. The survey results indicated that there were a few differences based on gender.

Men viewed a DMB device “like a toy, and perceive[d] the ownership of a mobile phone as a status symbol, [while] females were more concerned about the generic calling function of the device” (Choi, Kim, & McMillan, 2009). Women also gave much more weight to the social benefits that came with owning a DMB device. It was very important that DMB helped them stay in contact with friends and family. The authors recommended that the gender results should be used in DMB marketing.


While understanding the motivation for consumers to use DMB devices is important, there is a much larger question at stake: what is the future of streaming video content – live through DMB or through video on demand (VOD)? The study pointed out that DMB was an effective service because people would not have to return home at a specific time to watch TV; instead they could watch it anywhere. However, a major flaw with this is that TV consumption trends are changing. People will want to watch video on demand instead of being restricted to watch programming only when it is broadcast live.

Similar, yet significantly different than DMB, VOD provides an alternative to live television through mobile devices. Since 2009, VOD has become much more popular in the United States. Instead of watching TV when it is live, consumers in the United States are downloading and streaming shows through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and other services. Since people can start and stop a program at their convenience, VOD is a much more convenient way to consume content compared to DMB. If rights issues are resolved, this could become the case in Korea, and in many other places around the world. In order to stay viable long term, DMB must allow for video on demand services.

Questions for Discussion

Have you tried to live stream a video to your mobile device? If so, what was your experience?

Do you think streaming live TV has a future, or will everyone want his or her video on demand?

Do you use your mobile device as a fashion or status symbol?

Do you use your mobile device for the calling features or social functions?


Choi, Y. K., Kim, J., & McMillan, S. (2009). otivators for the intention to use mobile TV: A comparison of South Korean males and females. International Journal of Advertising (28), 147.


7 responses to “A Discussion on Digital Media Broadcasting in Korea

  1. Lisa

    April 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Great presentation Evan – thank you in particular for explaining how DMB works in detail and how it is different from just watching video on a mobile device. I agree that as long as on demand is still common, users will have little motivation to watch mobile tv UNLESS for some reason the content is super-timely and needs to be viewed in that exact moment – such as breaking news or sports.

  2. cocotsai

    April 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Great job! Evan! The presentation is very easy to understand and the video and images you used are very funny! As I known, there are lots of people who use mobile to watch TV in Japan, and it is interesting to know the survey result in Korea. Don’t know how many population in United States are using this kind of service now? I believe that most Japanese like to watch TV on their mobile phone is because they spend lot of time on commute. So I believe that the environment in different countries did influence the usage of this service.

  3. Zanna Brazil

    April 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Great slides! I wished I had watched the presentation. Your presentation ties back to my presentation last week and the gender differences. It’s interesting to see that no matter where you are men and women act in a different way. The markets should be aware of that every time they launch a new product or campaign. Great job!

  4. laraunderhill

    April 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    While I didn’t get to see your presentation, I really enjoyed reading your analysis. I agree that the mobile TV will not be “the next big thing” in the U.S. I have a DVR, so why do I need a mobile TV device? Video on Demand seems like a much better option. I also don’t think that in the U.S. we have a enough wi-fi network infrastructure for the mobile TV to be a viable option right now.

  5. RubaHachim

    April 26, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Excellent discussion Evan. I really enjoyed your presentation, and loved the way you designed the slide deck. It was especially interesting to learn that males in South Korea are motivated to use MDBs for making fashion statements! I loved your analysis and how you broke the information down. Finally, I wonder if there is a place for MDBs any more in the USA. Personally, I doubt it.

  6. thor10

    April 28, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Evan, a concise ‘boiling down’ and reflection of survey numbers and results created a solid backdrop to your slides as you tied info in seamlessly with the use of sharp imagery. Even though I couldn’t watch your presentation Tuesday, it’s evident from all those remarks about you hit a home run. Based on your questions to close your abstract, I can imagine how lively the discussion must have been. Thanks for your hard work.


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