SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's media regulator said Wednesday it will ease rules to allow commercial breaks during TV programs for terrestrial broadcasters in a move to boost the country's slumping broadcast industry.
Local terrestrial broadcasters are currently prohibited from airing commercial breaks to ensure viewer rights.
Broadcasters, however, have skirted rules by dividing programs in two parts and airing commercials in between amid declining sales.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said it will change existing broadcast rules to allow commercial breaks for them as part of its broader plan to bolster the local broadcast industry.
South Korea's broadcast market has suffered stalled growth in recent years, rising 2.1 percent on year to reach 17.7 trillion won (US$16.1 billion) in 2019.
In comparison, the market logged an average annual growth of 6.5 percent from 2010 to 2019, according to the KCC.
Terrestrial broadcasters have especially faced difficulty amid increased competition, with their sales declining 7 percent on year to 3.5 trillion won in 2019.
Their ad sales tumbled 15.4 percent to reach 1.1 trillion won over the same period.
Internet protocol TVs, in comparison, have shown rapid growth, with their total sales rising 12 percent to 3.9 trillion won in 2019.
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