On November 11, the joint committee between Naver 네이버 and Kakao 카카오 decided to take down Yonhap News 연합뉴스, South Korea’s premier wire service, from their news section. “Portal” sites such as Naver and Kakao, which are a one-stop destination for online activities such as internet searching and shopping, are the dominant channel through which South Koreans receive their news online.
The portal sites took down Yonhap as the wire service was found to have published over 2k articles in the past decade that were in fact advertisements. Yonhap would receive money from PR companies to carry articles for their clients, with the byline showing the PR companies’ employees. As the result of the portals’ “death penalty,” articles by Yonhap will only appear as search results; they will not appear on the news section of the portals, and the portal users can no longer subscribe to Yonhap’s articles.
Yonhap will lose approximately KRW 10b (USD 8.5m) in fees from the portal sites for carrying the news, and will likely take a significant hit in ad revenues as its pageviews will likely plummet.