I got my utilities bill over the weekend. Not just a simple form, but four pages of information. Two of the pages explained the cost in September for all sorts of things relating to the upkeep of the building itself. Some of the items were easy to figure out, like the cost of water and electricity. Others proved elusive, so I asked my co-teacher about them. Some of them she didn’t even know the meaning of in Korean.
One page was devoted exclusively to the bill for Public TV here. I suppose I can be thankful that Korea does not have the bill Nazis like NHK does in Japan. People who must be pretty desperate, since they will walk straight into your home and violate all sorts of Japanese customs in order to pressure you into paying the NHK bill. Even for people who don’t mind spending a few yen here or there, the NHK bill quickly runs into the 10s of thousands of yen (think hundreds of dollars/a few hundred Euros). If you give in, they will mail you.
The share of the Public TV cost on my bill is a little over one Euro. On the one hand, it is cheap, but I don’t like paying for something I don’t use. There was a TV in the apartment when I first got here – it is now unplugged and in storage. On the other hand, there is a significant cost savings from the fact they do not have to pay for NHK Nazis like Japan or for equipment to scan for TVs and other broadcast reception equipment like in the UK.
Given that I am paying for Public TV, and did not even know what channel is the public on here, I looked it up. KBS is the public broadcaster for Korea. I notice from the Wikipedia entry that Winter Sonata was made by them. It seems like all the money they must have received from that show (it ran on NHK in Japan, so I assume they must have gotten a lot of cash from them) could easily cover the costs of running the station without mandatory licence fees.