New name for Hanarotelecom

Co. rebrands itself as SK Broadband

SEOUL – Korea’s broadband TV operator Hanarotelecom has rebranded itself as SK Broadband, in anticipation of a full-fledged drive into the internet protocol TV (IPTV) business in October.

The name change emphasizes the operator’s connections with its corporate parent SK Telecom, which acquired Hanaro six months ago. The company will rebrand its Internet access, IP telephony and IPTV services under the ‘broad&’ umbrella name.

In addition to the aggressively planned marketing campaign, the company has already made pacts with more than 270 content providers, including Walt Disney, Sony Pictures and local giant CJ Entertainment, to supply programming for its ‘broad&tv’ IPTV service, as well as the “Hanabox” video-on-demand system.

“We will become the No.1 company in the convergence IT industry nationwide, providing all the services available with high speed Internet, including IPTV, VoIP, security and home networking services,” SK Broadband CEO Cho Shin said at a recent industry event.

The company will invest $84 million into various VoD content funds by 2008, and a total of $502 million will be spent acquiring content by 2012, with $3 million earmarked for public service content production.

Along with SK Broadband, the other IPTV companies KT and LG Dacom are currently providing testing services to certain regions around Seoul. IPTV penetration is set to expand widely within Korea in the next few months.