MBC, 4월 10일 선거 방송 시청률 1위(MBC Takes the Crown in April 10th Election Broadcast Ratings Amidst Industry Financial Difficulties)

한국에서 지난 4월 10일 정권의 운명을 가를 국회의원 선거가 치뤄졌다.  야당인 더불어민주당이 제22대 국회의원 총선거에서 지난 제21대에 이어 2연속 압승을 거뒀다. 집권 여당인 국민의힘은 4년 전에 이어 또다시 참패하면서 22대 국회에서도 견고한 '여소야대' 구도가 이어지게 됐다.

개표가 완료된  2024년 11일 오전 11시 현재 민주당은 지역구에서 161석, 비례위성정당인 더불어민주연합에서 14석 등 총 175석을 석권했다. 국민의힘은 지역구 90석, 비례정당 국민의미래 18석 등 총 108석에 그쳤다.

선거 결과 만큼, 이를 중계한 방송사들의 경쟁도 치열했다. 한국의 주요 지상파 방송사인 MBC, SBS, KBS뿐만 아니라 종합편성채널 JTBC, 채널A, TV조선, MBN도 1년동안 준비했던 선거 방송에 올인했다.

그러나 결과에는 희비가 엇가렸다.  4월 10일 대한민국 총선 개표 방송 시청률 1위는 MBC였다. 케이블 방송사 시청률은 전반적으로 감소했지만, MBC는 '시민 선택 2024' 에서 가상 레이싱 화면과 스포츠 캐스팅 해설을 섞는 등 독창적인 방식을 선보이며 8.28%의 평균 시청률을 기록했다.

반면, 업계 전체적으로는 경제적 어려움이 지속되고 있으며, 광고 수익 감소로 인해 JTBC, SBS, YTN, MBC 등 주요 방송사의 매출이 감소했다.

On April 10, South Korea held parliamentary elections that could determine the fate of the government.  The opposition Democratic Party of Korea won a second consecutive landslide victory in the 22nd National Assembly election.

The ruling People's Power suffered another crushing defeat four years ago, ensuring that the 22nd National Assembly will continue to have a solid "ruling and opposition" balance.

As of 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 2024, when the vote counting was completed, the Democratic Party of Korea had won 175 seats, including 161 seats in regional districts and 14 seats in the proportional satellite party Democratic Alliance.

The People's Power only won 108 seats, including 90 local seats and 18 seats for the proportional party People's Future.

The election results were as competitive as the broadcasters who covered them. South Korea's major terrestrial broadcasters MBC, SBS, and KBS, as well as generalist channels JTBC, Channel A, TV Chosun, and MBN, went all-in on the year-long election coverage.

But the results were mixed.

In anticipation of the April 10th legislative elections in South Korea, major media outlets geared up with innovative strategies to capture viewer attention amidst challenging financial conditions. While MBC emerged as the frontrunner in viewer ratings across various segments, cable networks grappled with declining revenue.

MBC's comprehensive election broadcast, "Selection 2024," stood out with impressive viewer ratings, affirming its dominance in the media landscape during the election period. According to recent data from Nielsen Korea, MBC's segments achieved viewer ratings of 8.2%, 11.4%, 11.7%, 6.3%, and 3.8%, respectively, contributing to an average viewer rating of 8.28% for MBC's vote counting broadcast. Notably, the third segment of "Selection 2024" achieved an individual viewer rating of 11.7%, surpassing other cable network competitors.

The broadcaster's implementation of the Accelerated Basket Counting (ABC) system bolstered early voting trend analysis, providing insights into the sentiments of over 50,000 early voters. MBC captivated audiences with visually immersive experiences, utilizing high-definition cube-shaped LEDs to relay election-related data, exit polls, and vote tallying updates.

During the electrifying vote counting phase, MBC creatively superimposed battleground dynamics onto CG-rendered car racing screens, accompanied by riveting commentary akin to sports broadcasting.

Source: MBC

Meanwhile, KBS enhanced its predictive capabilities with the 'DecisionK' system, offering insights into potential electoral outcomes through meticulous analysis of real-time voting data. Adding a creative twist to their coverage, KBS seamlessly integrated candidate faces into scenes from historical dramas and popular shows, generating intrigue and engagement among viewers.

SBS introduced the 'AI Aurora' system for analyzing election probabilities, providing insightful interpretations of election data through an endearing AI character named 'AI Voting Robot.' In a playful departure from traditional coverage, SBS injected humor by comically integrating candidates' faces into cartoon characters and popular drama scenes, adding an entertaining dimension to their broadcast.

Source: SBS 

Meanwhile,  Despite MBC's success, the broader media landscape faced economic challenges in 2023, with major players witnessing declines in revenue, operating profit, and net profit.

According to recent data from the Financial Supervisory Service's electronic disclosure system, JTBC suffered a significant blow with a 17.3% decrease in revenue, leading to operating and net losses. SBS, YTN, and MBC also experienced substantial revenue declines, signaling broader economic strain exacerbated by a decline in advertising revenue.

SBS recorded a 14.4% decrease to ₩866.6 billion last year, while YTN and MBC recorded revenue decreases of 14.3% (₩217 billion) and 13.6% (₩1.166 trillion) respectively. However, KBS only saw a decrease of 6.5% (₩960 billion) due to the postponement of separate collection fees.

MBC topped the viewership ratings for the general election broadcast with its unique approach, but the broadcasting industry as a whole is still facing economic difficulties. The decline in advertising revenue has led to a decrease in the sales of major broadcasters, and it is expected that structural changes in the broadcasting industry will be necessary in the future.

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