KBS Faces Large Deficit For 2019 + Plans To Cut Down On Programs

KBS is experiencing a 100 billion won (approximately $85.2 million) deficit, causing them to start an emergency management plan.

Recently, KBS created an internal “Total Review Task Force (TF)” to create a plan to cut down on costs.

According to the proposal, 2019’s end-of-year deficit is estimated to be 101.9 billion won (approximately $86.8 million). The cumulative business loss for the next five years is estimated to reach 656.9 billion (approximately $559.4 million). Analysis also revealed that from the second half of 2020, KBS will have to depend on bank loans.

To reduce KBS’s deficit, efficiency was emphasized. KBS discussed cutting down on programs and focusing on core content for broadcast production, increasing efficiency in spending, creating labor force efficiency, and downsizing.

As a result, programs will inevitably be cut. Programs such as “KBS24,” “Morning News Time,” “Yeo Yoo Man Man,” and “Baduk Wang Jeon” will be discontinued. A measure to consolidate “Current Affairs Plan Window,” “In Depth 60 Minutes,” “KBS Special,” and “Global Documentary” was also discussed.

With dramas, solutions were discussed to shorten the broadcast time by 20 minutes from 70 to 50 minutes. The question of maintaining or abolishing the one-act drama format “Drama Special” was also brought to the table. Although it wasn’t stated in the plan, the discussion to cancel “Tonight Kim Jae Dong” was also brought up. On July 17, KBS Public Broadcasters Union (KBS PBU) issued a statement saying, “In time with the scheduled fall reformatting of the show, Kim Jae Dong relayed that he would be leaving the program.” Kim Jae Dong’s side has also made this official.

In the reporting department, KBS is re-examining whether or not to continue the Seoul-Incheon coverage center, and they’re discussing plans to cut down on the number of correspondents by 20 percent. Regarding professional sports broadcasts, KBS will decide based on profitability.

The reduction in costs from the implementation of the emergency management plan is estimated to be around 60 billion won (approximately $51.1 million dollars). Internally, concerns and criticisms were expressed the moment the plan was released.

KBS PBU relayed in a statement, “They’re forcing sacrifice by putting the responsibility of failed management onto the laborers. The board of directors should take responsibility for management and step down.”

The headquarters of the KBS media union also issued a statement saying, “We recognize KBS’s crisis, but at the same time, if incompetence, laziness, and lack of desire to reform from the executives are at the center of the crisis, we won’t be remaining idle.”

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