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Industry trends indicate that the Korean media market will face greater competition in 2020 as domestic and foreign OTT services providers increase their efforts to secure local content.

A shift to IPTV is evidence by active mergers and acquisitions, say lawyers, who comment on market consolidation, which reflects global trends of markets moving from traditional cable TV-driven media platforms to IPTV and OTT.

Dong-Shik Choi, Partner at Kim & Chang, commented: “As a result of this trend, we are seeing the manifestation of tension between content providers and internet service providers.”

Mr Choi added: The market is facing a shift away from traditional media platforms/services, for example cable TV, to online streaming and OTT/IPTV services.

“In light of this trend, there has been an increase in M&As, particularly by telecom carriers acquiring OTT/ IPTV service providers to expand beyond their traditional telecom carrier services to enter the media business.”

After approval delays, the Communications Commission and the Ministry of Science and ICT gave the go ahead in December 2019 for the planned merger of mobile and fixed network operator LG Uplus and cableco/MVNO CJ Hello.

The KRW800 billion (USD679 million) deal was conditionally approved by the Fair Trade Commission a month earlier.


Other areas of development include changes to privacy law. Mr Choi explained: “Korean privacy law was recently amended to require multinationals without a domestic presence to designate a local agent for privacy law compliance purposes.

“As a result, multinationals that conduct business in Korea without a domestic presence are now required to designate a Korea-residing agent to comply with the Korean privacy law requirements.”



The team at Bae, Kim  & Lee has in-depth industry knowledge. The firm’s client base includes broadcast companies, advertising and event promotion firms, sports associations and individual performers such as actors and athletes. The practice represents several Korean cable television content providers, US networks and leading sports and animated programming channels. Hoo Dong Lee and Kap-You Kim are the firm’s key practitioners who also advise on copyright, licensing and intellectual property transactions.

Media lawyers at Kim  & Chang advise some of the country’s most prominent clients. The firm has an established TMT division with 20 years of sector specialisation. Lawyers act for foreign broadcasting companies, online game developers and e-commerce companies. In highlighted work, the team represented iHQ, a leading Korean entertainment company and CU Media, a broadcasting programme provider, in the largest domestic transaction involving an entertainment content producer and a broadcast channel programme provider.   


HMP Law’s entertainment, e-commerce and communications division assists with regulatory matters, corporate transactions and litigation. Lawyers advise on sponsorship contracts in the sports and entertainment industry and negotiate copyright agreements. The firm is also involved in legislative amendments of the broadcasting act.

Lee & Ko has two decades of industry specialisation coupled with in-depth coverage of cases connected with satellite broadcasting, online gaming and c-ecommerce. Department leader Kwang Bae Park has exceptional experience assisting clients with online regulatory issues such as privacy and advertisement. Mr Park is also an experienced litigator assisting with cases of ground-wave re-transmission between cable television companies and ground-wave broadcasting companies.

Yulchon acts for local and international clients from media and communications sectors. Lawyers advise on regulation and disputes regarding multi-channel pay-television platforms such as IPTV and satellite broadcasting. Other work relates to disputes and litigation between media and telecommunication corporations. Key practitioner Doil Son, who formerly served as a district court judge, focusses on mergers and acquisitions, data privacy and cyber security.


Copyright specialist Barun Law handles management and licensing of copyrights and related disputes. Lawyers act for entertainment and sports companies on diverse intellectual property matters. The practice brings together a range of service areas to provide extensive coverage of cases that involve antitrust, litigation and product liability.

With a broadcasting focus, Shin & Kim  routinely assists with approvals, operations and mergers and acquisitions of cable, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters. In highlighted work, the team advised on a joint venture between SBS and CNBC and represented Next Entertainment World on investment by China’s Huace Film & TV. The team also advises on privacy and copyright matters.

The TMT division at Yoon & Yang provides cross-practice advisory and regulatory services, working closely with the entertainment and sports practice. Lawyers provide advice on antitrust laws and intellectual property to domestic and foreign companies investing in the local media market.


Bae, Kim & Lee

Kim & Chang



Lee & Ko  



Barun Law


Shin & Kim

Yoon & Yang



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