Broadcast Bickering

Korean cable TV channel Mnet has announced that it will hold this year’s Mnet Asian Music Awards in Macau, a decision that has been slammed by Korea’s major broadcast networks.

Despite the name, MAMA is mainly an awards show for Korean pop artists, and by moving the ceremony to Macau, the cable station is “attempting to make it represent not only Korea, but all of Asia as well,” the station said in a statement.

The broadcasters’ beef is that the ceremony will take place Nov. 28, a Sunday. It is expected that every major K-pop act will be in attendance, as they will likely all be nominated for one award or another. Therefore, no major stars in Korea will be available to appear on that weekend’s live pop music shows.

Major networks MBC and SBS both have live weekend music programs, and a representative for SBS said that, while some acts in the past have submitted pre-recordings to the show, “we absolutely will not allow artists attending MAMA to go through a pre-recording with us.”

The Macau move is seen as one more challenge by Mnet to the dominance of broadcast TV in Korea.

One of Mnet’s most popular shows is the audition music program “Superstar K.”

According to website AllKpop, the three networks are “feeling very uncomfortable” with the success of “Superstar K.” In Korea, networks earn a certain hip cachet for “discovering” and “raising” individual pop stars, but Mnet seems to be upsetting this traditional model, leading to potential fierce competition.