CJ Group buys share of On Media for about 30% of the market
The Korean pay TV industry is set for a shake up in the new year.South Korean conglom CJ Group has acquired a controlling stake in On Media Corp. for $369 million, making it the dominant provider in the local cable TV business. The deal was done via CJ subsidiary CJ O Shopping Co., the country’s second-largest cable TV shopping channel operator, which has agreed to buy 55.17% of On Media from Orion Corp. and other shareholders. In the works since April, the pact is subject to approval by the Korea Communications Commission, the country’s broadcasting and telco regulator. The new deal will give CJ Group some 30% of the cable pay TV market, creating a network that could compete with terrestrial broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS. Launched in 1995 as Orion Cartoon Network, On Media operates 10 cable channels while CJ Group’s CJ Media operates eight. CJ has more than 2.52 million subscribers and will add On Media’s 570,000 subscribers to its tally. Since the launch of cable TV industry in the mid-90s in Korea, CJ Group and the Orion Group have largely split the market, absorbing program providers. The congloms divide the country’s film industry via their subsids CJ Entertainment and Mediaplex, integrating investment, production and distribution. They also competed in the exhibition sector through multiplex chains CJ-CGV and Megabox, until Orion sold Megabox to Australia’s Macquarie Group.