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  • 작성자 사진Kim Ji-yeon

[President Election] Korea’s Election Coverage Was on the “Next Level”

Apr 18, 202 / No. 157

Conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, a former chief prosecutor and political neophyte, was elected as Korea’s new president on Thursday, March 31, 2022, defeating his chief liberal rival in one of the most heavily contested presidential elections in the country’s democratic history. After counting all the votes, the conservative candidate garnered 48.6% against 47.8% for liberal Lee Jae-myung, the candidate from the ruling the Minjoo Party winning by just 0.73%.

Besides the 2022 presidential election, competition between the three broadcasters in Korea was tight due to Korea’s special election culture. Since the 13th Presidential election, broadcasters have been using wild graphics to encourage attention toward politics. Despite election coverage being aired until the early morning of Thursday, March 10, 2022, voters stayed up until 4 a.m. as Korea’s largest broadcasters used 3D animation to add a dash of fun in their delivery of the presidential election coverage. This year, Korea’s Top 3 broadcasters, KBS, SBS, MBC, kept things interesting by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to display the faces of the presidential candidates on a Computer Graphics (CG) video, showing them battling in various competitions such as a K-pop dance battle or in the winter Olympics. KBS was the most-watched channel covering the presidential election with a viewership rating of 11.1%, according to Nielsen Korea, the highest-rated election coverage. SBS and MBC, which aired in the same time slot, followed with viewership ratings of 6.1% and 5.6%, respectively. All broadcasters also had millions of viewers and received much attention on their YouTube streams. KBS broadcasted the ballot count on a metaverse platform and attracted viewers with various activities including a maze quiz about the presidential election and a ballot selfie zone. SBS portrayed the top two presidential candidates Yoon Suk-yeol and Lee Jae-myung competing in a winter sport. The highlight was when SBS presented the candidates in a Mad Max parody while dancing to K-pop group aespa’s hit song “Next Level”. MBC incorporated Korean culture into its coverage by portraying 3D models of Korean landmarks, traditional works of art, and miniature versions of representative foods of Korea.

Not only did the presidential election receive an entertaining coverage, but the broadcasters also covered other elections in Korea, including local elections and the general election. The concept of election coverage has differed for every election. Broadcasters used issues that people were interested in the corresponding year. For instance, for the coverage of the 19th presidential election held in 2017, SBS portrayed the candidates in the setting of Pokémon due to huge attention towards the game Pokémon GO in 2017. Election programs combining politics with entertainment had a positive effect on encouraging the younger generation to be interested in politics. Politics should not be seen as a joke but approaching politics in a new way seems like a good idea. Elections are over, but if you would like to rewatch some of the graphic segments, you can head over to the YouTube channels of each broadcaster.


By Kim Ji-yeon, AG Cub Reporter

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