Sun, Jul 10, 2005 - Page 9 News List

Internet rules the news in South Korea

Newspapers, which up until 2000 were the main source of daily news for most South Koreans, are losing influence as the younger generation - and advertisers - increasing turn to the Internet


Meanwhile, Internet media is prospering.

The country's largest search Web site, Naver, has seen revenues surge almost 10-fold from 24.1 billion won in 2001 to 229.3 billion won last year.

Naver derives 37 percent of its revenue from search ads, where advertiser pay for each click, according to Naver's spokeswoman Kim.

In South Korea, Web giants Google or Yahoo Inc are trailing behind local portals like Empas, Daum or Naver. The total ad revenues for all portals have increased from 330 billion won last year to 424 billion won this year, according to Naver's spokeswoman.

Many of the ads are targeting Korean youngsters. The Internet has become a way of life for young Internet users, many of whom do not even bother to leaf through newspapers.

They chat at www.cyworld. com, which has a membership of 14 million. They do their shopping, study and conduct business through the Internet.

With their growing dependance on portals for revenues, newspapers are now losing control of their own content.

"The shift of the power from newspapers to Internet has created a trend of portals forcing newspapers to produce more gossip news articles so that they could please young readers. This often happens at the expense of health journalism, where newspapers used to try to appeal to serious grownup readers," said Oh Soo-jung of KPF.

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