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April 2011

Focus on KOREA MIPTV Special Edition

www.miptv.com ALSO INSIDE ...

A N

KOCCA’s CONTENT STRATEGY

SPOTLIGHT ON KOREAN ANIMATION

Inside, page 4

Inside, page 18

O F F I C I A L

M I P T V

The Korean media landscape • The country’s top media decision makers • Korean drama and factual • News and statistics from the Korean content industry

P U B L I C A T I O N


CONTENTS

NEWS KOCCA’s Jae-woong Lee Korea: the latest industry figures

4 6

Focus on Korea in association with KOCCA

Focus on Korea • MIPTV Special Edition April 2011 Director of publications: Paul Zilk Editorial Department – Editor in Chief: Julian Newby – Deputy Editor: Debbie Lincoln – Sub Editor: Joanna Stephens – Contributing Editor: Marlene Edmunds – Technical Editor in Chief: Herve Traisnel – Deputy Technical Editor in Chief: Frederic Beauseigneur – Graphic Designer: Carole Peres – Editorial Management: Boutique Editions Ltd. Production Department – Content Director: Jean-Marc Andre – Publications Production and Development Manager: Martin Screpel – Publishing Product Manager: Chealsy Choquette – Publishing Coordinators: Emilie Lambert, Amrane Lamiri, David Le Chapelain, Bruno Piauger – Production Assistant: Veronica Pirim – Production Assistant, Cannes Office: Eric Laurent – Printer: Riccobono Imprimeurs, Le Muy (France) Management, Marketing & Sales Team – Director of the Television Division: Laurine Garaude – Director of Digital Media: Ted Baracos – Sales Director: Sabine Chemaly – Brand Manager: Dee Perryman – Programme Director: Karine Bouteiller– Managing Director (UK / Australia / New Zealand): Peter Rhodes OBE – Sales Manager: Elizabeth Delaney – Vice President Sales and Business Development, Americas: Robert Marking – Vice President Business Development, North America: JP Bommel – Executive Sales Director, North America: MJ Sorenson – Sales executive: Panayiota Pagoulatos – Sales Managers: Paul Barbaro, Nathalie Gastone – International Sales Manager: Fabienne Germond – Sales Executives: Liliane Dacruz, Cyril Szczerbakow – Sales Manager: Samira Haddi – Digital Media Sales Manager: Nancy Denole – Australia and New Zealand Representative: Natalie Apostolou – China Representative: Anke Redl – CIS Representative: Alexandra Modestova – English speaking Africa representative: Arnaud de Nanteuil – India Representative: Anil Wanvari – Israel Representative: Guy Martinovsky – Japan Representative: Lily Ono – Latin America Representative: Elisa Aquino – Middle-East Representative: Bassil Hajjar – Poland Representative: Monika Bednarek – South Korea Representative: Sunny Kim – Taiwan Representative: Irene Liu – Germany Representative (Digital Media Sector): Renate Radke Adam www.miptv.com Published by Reed MIDEM BP 572 – 11, rue du Colonel Pierre Avia 75726 Paris Cedex 15 Contents © 2011 Reed MIDEM Market Publications – Publication Registered: Printed on 100% 2nd quarter 2011 recycled paper

Korean content goes global — see inside...

FEATURES The decision makers Korea gets animated Korean drama takes on the world Programmes for inquiring minds Korea’s media landscape

10 18 24 30 36


FOCUS ON KOREA: NEWS

Korean content is on the move... The Korea Creative Content Agency, KOCCA, has big plans to make Korea a major content player on the global media landscape. KOCCA president and CEO Jae-woong Lee gives Marlene Edmunds an inside look at the agency’s strategy for turning those ambitions into reality Q: KOCCA has been in existence for nearly two years now. What is its main focus at the moment? A: Our focus from the outset has been to increase the presence and position of Korea and Korean companies on the global media landscape. We essentially want Korea to become a major player when it comes to content — all content — in the global marketplace. What have you been doing to ensure this? Our strategy has a number of projects aimed at improving the competitive position of Korean companies. We’re also exploring strategically important markets such as the US and China, India and Russia. In addition, we have in place major programmes for nurturing and developing cutting-edge technologies such as 3D and CGI. Part

of KOCCA’s mission, as it were, is to nourish creativity and content growth. It may be because Korea itself actually lacks natural resources that we consider human resources and creativity to be important and as such, new growth engines for Korean content. What’s your most important focus, at the moment? Anime, drama, character licensing, gaming, mobile, interactive convergence? Our focus is not on genres but rather on the creative process. A successful content industry means successful stories and behind those stories is creativity. We look for stories that can be reborn into various types of content and then nurtured to have a global appeal.

KOCCA president and CEO Jae-woong Lee

4 / FOCUS ON KOREA 2011

What is KOCCA doing to expand creativity into the connected world, especially in mobile? Smartphones are becoming increasingly prevalent in Korea and concurrently, there is more and more interest in mobile content as well. We, especially, provide support in terms of production of animation that can be turned into mobile content — but also, in the production of games and Korean comics, known as Manhwa. How does this work? As an example, when it comes to animation, what support are you providing? We provide support for the production of animation

that can be launched in an online marketplace. We publish mobile games abroad to ensure that Korean mobile games are available to game users around the globe. We also translate popular Manhwas into English and support production of Manhwas suitable for being launched in app stores. And we facilitate networking by hosting conferences aimed at the exchange of information on mobile content.

There is more and more interest in mobile content Jae-woong Lee


FOCUS ON KOREA: NEWS

KOCCA puts creativity at the top of Cannes agenda KOREA Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) is in Cannes with a major delegation of more than 30 companies and a brief to highlight Korean content and its global expansion, especially the growing presence of its animation industry on the international media landscape. KOCCA as an agency was formed in May 2009 with the fusion of five Korean media entities — the Korea Culture and Content Agency, the Korea Game Development And Promotion Institute, the Korean

Broadcasting Institute, the Culture Contents Centre, and the Digital Contents Business Group of the Korea Software Industry Promotion Agency. “The fusion of these entities made it easier for us to respond to new platforms and new media services and to conduct business more efficiently,” said KOCCA president and CEO Jae-woong Lee. Sales volume for the content industry in Korea in 2009 accounted for 6.1% of the territory’s GDP. The export volume of the domestic

content industry totalled $ 2.5bn as of end 2009, with an 18% annual growth annually since 2005. KOCCA has a $174m annual budget earmarked for the development of projects that cover every area of content development and production, including resource development, technology, production, distribution and marketing of content. The agency, which is affiliated with the Ministry Of Culture, Sports And Tourism, reaches everèy area of the content industry, from production to broadcast

TV HOUSEHOLD

Year

H/H

2001

17 709 432

2002

18 365 221

2003

18 975 642

2004

19 485 829

2005

19 859 000

2006

20 093 683

2007

20 441 732

2008

20 739 544

2009

21 131 182

KOREA’S CONTENT INDUSTRY BY GENRES IN 2009 Market

Number of Companies

Number of Workers

Sales

Export

Import

Animation

289

4,170

349

90

7

Broadcasting

838

34,308

10,640

185

183

Character

1,542

23,406

4,465

237

196

Comics

10,109

10,748

616

4

5

Music

38,259

76,539

2,284

31

12

Game

30,535

43,365

5,484

1241

332

Film

4,094

28,041

2,756

14

74

Advertisement

4,532

33,509

7,656

93

610

Publication

28,474

206,926

17,174

251

348

Etc.

3,434

60,864

6,076

459

1

Total

122,106

521,876

57,500

2,605

1,768

Unit: millions of dollars, Exchange rate : USD 1 to KWR 1,200

SALES GROWTH OF KOREA’S CONTENT INDUSTRY (2005-2009) Year Sales

2005 47,716

2006 52,307

Unit: millions of dollars, Exchange rate : USD 1 to KWR 1,200

6 / FOCUS ON KOREA 2011

2007 53,679

2008 55,011

2009 57,500

Annual Average Growth (%) 4.8


FOCUS ON KOREA: NEWS

COMMUNICATION SERVICES SUBSCRIBERS BY SERVICE 2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010.07

22 877 019

22 870 615

22 920 151

23 119 170

23 130 253

22 131 737

20 090 000

19 558 000

N/S

12 358

24 042

93 243

289 691

1 227 582

Mobile telephone

33 591 758

36 586 052

38 342 323

40 197 115

43 497 541

45 606 984

47 944 000

49 803 000

Broadband

11 178 000

11 921 000

12 191 000

14 043 000

14 710 000

15 475 000

16 349 000

16 718 000

Wired telephone Internet telephone

to distribution, from music, to comics to merchandising to games and to cutting-edge technology. Last MIPCOM, in a cross-platform content extravaganza, KOCCA brought popular girl group Wonder Girls to the opening night party. The line-up of companies coming to Cannes under the KOCCA aegis includes broadcast, production, distribution and 3D content production. KOCCA has two dedicated pavilions —animation and broadcast — both under the branded slogan Created By Korea. There are over 20 animation companies, among them ROI Visual, Synergy Media, Sunwoo Entertainment, Pixtrend and G&G. Entertainment. Major broadcasters KBS Media, MBC, SBS Contents Hub, and EBS are also in Cannes with their own pavilions. KOCCA has offices in Europe and the US, China and Japan, all serving as a bridge between companies in Korea and local partners. The offices conduct research on markets and companies, and provide matchmaking between businesses, public relations and marketing, and legal counsel, among other activities. Although there are no plans at present to open any additional offices, KOCCA’s Lee says that increasing the exchange of business relations for Korean content companies in markets including India and Russia is a major interest for KOCCA this year.

8 / FOCUS ON KOREA 2011

BROADCAST SERVICES MARKET SIZE BY PLATFORM (Unit: Million USD) Platform Terrestrial Cable SO Satellite Program Provider(PP) IPTV DMB Total

Sales (M$) 2 908 1 611 313 2 947 71 129 7 978

Ratio (%) 34,6% 20,2% 3,9% 36,9% 0,9% 1,6% 100,0%

DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting): mobile TV, similar to DVB-H of Europe

PAY-TV SUBSCRIBERS (000) Platform

Cable • Analog • Digital Satellite DMB IPTV Total

2008.12. 15 010 13 100 1 910 2 340 1 850

2009.12. 15 060 12 380 2 680 2 460 2 000 2 370 21 890

19 200

2010.03. 15 040 12 170 2 870 2 490 2 010 2 580 22 120

ADVERTISEMENT MARKET BY PLATFORM (Unit: Million USD) 2006 2007 2008 2009

Terrestrial 2 203 2 136 1 964 1 713

DMB 1 5 7 8

Cable SO 77,32 87,77 105 95

Satellite 10,71 10,54 8,66 10,09

PP 641 766 785 687

total 2 934 3 005 2 870 2 512


The Groundbreaking Edutainment Contents for Kids

www.bluentree.com Tel. 82-2-2052-3131 Contact. juyong@bluentree.com


FOCUS ON KOREA: DECISION MAKERS

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP

Media chiefs explore new landscape KOREA’s media executives are looking globally, regionally and locally when it comes to formulating strategies that are bringing dramatic change in Korea and around the world. Here are the views of some of the country's top decision-makers about their industry, at home and abroad

KBS PRESIDENT KIM IN-KYU “KBS has became known across the globe for its quality content — the Korean wave, as it were — and we intend to continue to produce and to distribute this content as well as expand our international channel, KBS World. “We are very much aware, however, of the drastic changes in the media environment worldwide and the huge challenges as a result of them. Terrestrial broadcasters, if they haven’t already done so, are decid-

ing or will have to decide on how to provide and support various new media platforms. “The emergence of smart TV based on the internet and spread of the NScreen service being used on smartphones, as well as the new popularity of PC tablets, pose additional challenges. Smart media translates into a landscape that is further fractured, further diversified, and that could pose considerable difficulty in establish-

ing new distribution strategies. “Inside Korea, our territory’s digital convergence will be completed at the end of 2012. It is a process, however, that is expensive and we are financing it at the same time as we are also facing competition in the new cable landscape and subsequent changes in the advertising market. This will have a major impact on the media landscape and they are among the challenges KBS is working on.”

MBC EXECUTIVE MANAGING DIRECTOR, GLOBAL BUSINESS DIVISION, JUNG KYUNG-SOO

In our home market, new channels are being launched that will force us to compete fiercely for a very limited advertising market Jung Kyung-Soo

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“ON 31 December 2012, Korea’s terrestrial broadcasting landscape will officially usher in the digital era by terminating analogue transmissions. To this end, MBC has been digitalising its production and transmission systems gradually. Since this shift will give it more opportunity for multi-use of content, MBC has strengthened its efforts to create more competitive contents and continuously developing value-added business opportunities. Furthermore, it has successfully expanded its content distribution scope beyond conventional terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasting to the internet, mobile phones and smart TV. “One of the reasons we are expand-

ing into the global arena as much as possible is that in our home market, Korea, new channels are being launched that will force us to compete fiercely for a very limited advertising market. Advertising is our major source of income so we do need to develop new sources of profit. “We intend to create more profit from content distribution on the IPbased platform and to open offices in Japan, China, Latin America and Africa. We are building strategic alliances with local and international media companies. We are successfully expanding our content distribution scope beyond conventional terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasting. We have devised and

also are successfully carrying out content distribution strategies linked to smart devices, smart TVs and smartphones.”


FOCUS ON KOREA: DECISION MAKERS

SBS CEO WOO WON GIL “THERE is a Korean proverb, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ And I think it is very relevant to the challenges that lie ahead. “Content embodies culture and the emotions of a society. Content can move the heart of viewers who share the same cultural and socio-emotional backgrounds. However, the same content can be just a strange story with a set of possibly uninteresting characters if the audience, the viewer or the user, comes from another culture. “Differences in language and culture

are some of the greatest challenges Korean companies face when it comes to expanding internationally. We can’t change this overnight but Korean terrestrial broadcasters, including SBS, are narrowing the cultural gap by creating globally-relevant content with tightly knit plots that we believe have universal appeal, whether the target audience is living in Latin America or Europe. The documentary The Last Tundra is a good example: it is beautifully directed and produced, with a remarkable

story that has a universal theme. “There are not only challenges but also opportunities created by change. The global content market is now driven by the internet and allows viewers from the opposite ends of the earth to enjoy Korean content via websites such as YouTube. SBS sees opportunity to take advantage of this phenomenon to distribute high-quality Korean content around the world via the web.”

Korean terrestrial broadcasters, including SBS, are narrowing the cultural gap by creating globally-relevant content with tightly knit plots that we believe have universal appeal Woon Won Gil

EBS CEO KWAK DUK HOON “CURRENTLY, the media industry in Korea is going through a turbulent period, with the emergence of four new general programming channels as well as mergers between media companies. I expect that there will be considerable competition among media companies for limited resources due to multiple media streams and various channels. I also worry that the competitive situation may eventually lead to negative side-effects, such as lower-quality program-

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ming and increasingly commercialised content. “Some of the biggest challenges in the international as well as local media landscape are about public broadcasting and the need to re-establish public broadcasting values and the importance of the service it provides. That service includes quality educational programming for the benefit of digital consumers. “Another challenge is overseas expansion and our need to create content during developmental stages

that will transcend cultural barriers. Korean media players need to create market strategies that target specific territories overseas. They should also make part of that strategy research into the regulations and governmental media plans, including spectrum allocations and permits. In other words, many of the current difficulties faced by the Korean media industry in overseas expansion are derived from insufficient market intelligence about the companies they want to do business with.”


FOCUS ON KOREA: DECISION MAKERS

PIXTREND PRESIDENT SARA KYUNGWON HAN WILLIAMS “IN THE past decade we’ve seen a lot of changes in the animation industry and there are many more to come, if the current media landscape is any indication. We are very much international in the way we develop projects and they are aimed at being sold globally, especially in the US, Europe and

Asia. We are also consultants and we help companies — Korean and international — plan projects. We’ve also been involved in publishing, merchandising and character licensing. “So we see Korea from a very international point of view and our job is to look ahead. We’re devel-

oping projects for apps at present as well as working on live-action projects in stereoscopic 3D. Our partner company, Neon Pumpkin, handles the 3D and VFX, and there are projects currently on the front burner, but it is early days to make any major announcements about them.”

SUNWOO ENTERTAINMENT CEO HAN-YOUNG KAN “CREATIVITY and credibility is a tried and true formula for us and definitely the secret to our success. We have worked with world-class animation studios, distributors, licensors and licensees for more than two decades. We started working with Disney in 1989 and we are still one of their major partners for Disney cartoon productions. I think

that this says something. “In addition to our animation partners, we are now expanding our business with licensing and merchandising, and our partners again are some of the most prestigious in the world, including Hasbro, Mattel, Takara Tomy and Sega Toys, to name a few. So the formula for being successful remains the same: be

creative and be credible. “So what’s up ahead? We see digital as being very important in production as well as distribution of content. The digital assets that you build during the production stage can be utilised for various purposes, including game development, publishing, application development, promotions, and licensing and merchandising.”

SYNERGY MEDIA CEO EUGENE KANG “FROM the beginning we try to work with European or American creatives as well as Asian partners. Penetration into other territories can be difficult, so we try to secure pre-sales to ensure the success of the projects from the beginning. Understanding foreign co-production treaties or regulations is also necessary and that’s part of our job as well. Finally, we do understand that the actual co-productions are not always easy. In most cases, we’ve had to overcome a variety of delays during the co-development period, on

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top of the multi-layered creative confirmation process, which in itself can bring up thorny issues. “However, our top-priority task is always to identify potential partners abroad that understand and have a passion for co-production,

who enjoy doing it, and who are only interested in the highest-quality work. Once that is in place, so is our willingness to overcome any obstacles that come up in the coproduction.”

Our priority is to identify potential partners that understand and have a passion for co-production and are only interested in the highest-quality work Eugene Kang


FOCUS ON KOREA: DECISION MAKERS

ROIVISUAL CEO AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DONG WOO LEE “THE BIGGEST challenge is to adjust to the diversity of windows and to create a more detailed and segmented strategy for each media platform. Trends in the industry are changing and part of our strategy is to react as rapidly as possible to those situations and to make unique content that puts us ahead in the

market. We can’t avoid global competition but are interested in creating Korean content that works equally well on the global media landscape. We’re also keeping an eye on marketing and new distribution networks to explore, but for the most part, the primary concern we have is to make good content. That

takes priority over good marketing. “As for animation, different things make people laugh in different cultures, but there is universality and we are interested in creating product that reflects that. Korea clearly has shown a lot of strength in the pre-school animation market, an area RoiVisual is very active in.”

G&G ENTERTAINMENT HEAD OF MARKETING AND CO-PRODUCTIONS NARAE HA

G&G Entertainment needs to break out of being solely an animation provider and work with different forms of media to become a true content provider Narae Ha

“ALTHOUGH G&G Entertainment is well known for its production capabilities, we feel there are outlets we can expand upon by using our expertise. There are new technologies on the horizon, among them augmented reality, stereoscopic 3D, and Nscreen, which we would like to implement. In the near future, G&G Entertainment needs to break out of being solely an animation provider and take part in working with different forms of media, as an example, mobile, or film, to be-

come a true content provider. “On the animation landscape, Korea is recognised for its ability to come up with great concepts, designs and animations, and go toe to toe with major international studios on a technical level. However, Korea is still lacking in its ability to come up with engaging scripts that will work well on an international level. This is a big challenge because in order to become a true contender in the international marketplace, Korea’s storytelling capabilities need to match its technical prowess.”

ICONIX ENTERTAINMENT CEO JONG-IL CHOI “WE HAVE a couple of real hurdles ahead. Free TV is still the best platform for TV series producers, but most of the free TV channels in Korea have reduced their budgets for kids’ programmes over the years. So it’s a big challenge for us to find other sources of funding and income.

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“New media, such as IPTV, web, digital TV, mobile, and smart TV have not as yet proved their strength in the market. Most new-platform players are still focused on the hardware side and few are investing in software, that is to say, content. The other issue on the table is media rights. Our per-

ception is that conventional media just want to add new-media rights without paying additional fees since they are also struggling to survive in the new-platform economy. So currently platform proliferation seems to only favour viewers, not producers, at least from our point of view.”


FOCUS ON KOREA: ANIMATION

HE KOREAN animation industry is the third largest in the world, but its reputation until a decade ago rested mainly on work for hire or outsourcing. Companies such as Sunwoo Entertainment worked for some of the globe’s biggest animators, including Disney, contributing to some of the most prestigious series. AKOM Production Company, run by industry veteran Nelson Shin, has been involved in more than 200 episodes of The Simpsons as well as parts of The Simpsons Movie. The onset of the millennium and increased competition for outsourcing work from India and China spurred a major overhaul of the animation industry in South Korea. The government began providing subsidies and initiatives aimed at encouraging Korean companies to create their own original content. The strategy was not only to produce original content but also to build an animation industry that could become an economic force in Korea and a major player in the global industry. Some of those ambitions are well on the way to being realised. Today, Korean animators have established a reputation for producing trendy original content and quirky characters. They have also considerably upped their game when it comes to global marketing. Korean animation companies from two- to threeperson outfits to vertically integrated groups have moved out into the international playing field in droves, striking up joint ventures, tapping co-production treaties and fashioning co-production deals as never before. They have revamped their distribution channels to accommodate international expansion and, sometimes, with companies such as Pixtrend, they have launched consulting and brokerage services targeting co-production and co-financing Synergy Media’s projects for Korean and international Playground Robot, produced in partnership productions. with Malaysian animation They have also learned to tap international studio Tulus Firkir talent when needed. American animator, comic book artist and character designer LeSean Thomas, whose fat list of credentials includes The Boondocks TV series for Sony Pictures Animation, has been part of the in-house animation team for JM Animation. Veteran Disney animation screenwriter Lorne Cameron is on board to write the screenplay for stereoscopic 3D animated feature The Nut Job, Redrover’s new co-production with Canada’s Toonbox Entertainment. Cameron’s

T

A C R E AT I V E A P P R O A C H

Korea gets animated Korea has moved from junior partner in animation production to global creative force. Marlene Edmunds reports

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FOCUS ON KOREA: ANIMATION

credits include co-writing DreamWorks Animation’s Over The Hedge and scripting Pixar’s Ratatouille. Nut Job director Peter Lepeniotis also directed the 2010 TV series Bolts & Blip, another Redrover/Toonbox coproduction that has sold globally. A Nut Job spin-off TV series is also planned between the two companies. SAMG Animation Studio brought on board a US scriptwriter for its latest TV animation, Vroomiz. “Our reasoning behind this is that from the very outset we wanted Vroomiz to appeal to North America and Europe,” says Harry Yoon, vice- president of the 10-year-old CGI specialist company. The pre-school series targets boys and is now in its second season. Because it is a co-production with the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS), “each episode provides highspeed racing filled with a curriculum that underscores creativity and teamwork”. SAMG has already churned out five co-productions with Europe. Considering the Korean industry’s transition from outsourcing to original output, it is no surprise that much of the animation work is still centred on pre-school and young kids. Iconix Entertainment’s Pororo The Little Penguin has travelled to more than 100 territories, inspired the creation of more than 3,000 licensed items and Season 4 is now in development. Dibo The Gift Dragon, the brainchild of Ocon Studios in South Korea, has sold to dozens of territories. Latest Dibo conquest: all rights for the 3D CGI TV animation series, including home video and licensing

Our reasoning behind this is that from the very outset we wanted Vroomiz to appeal to North America and Europe Harry Yoon

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and merchandising, sold to Russia by Dutch distributor Telescreen International. Iconix is responsible for a pack of series, including Chiro, Z Rangers and Tai Chi Chasers, bringing it millions of dollars in royalties. Tai Chi Chasers, a co-production with Toei Animation of Japan, will begin distribution later this year through 4Kids Entertainment. It is a track record Iconix is clearly hoping to continue with Tayo The Little Bus, launched at MIPCOM and now back in Cannes. “We’re looking to close deals now on the table as well as to find new partners for Tayo,” says Mikyeong Jung, contents business division executive director. Back at home, the iconic characters are served up to as many as 20 channels across Korea. As early as 2004 Synergy Media began linking up with European partners, brokering deals — among them Korea’s RG Animation Studios border-breaking co-production with BRB Spain for the Backkom series. Known as Bernard Bear in the West, Backkom is about a polar bear stranded in the big city. The bear is intended as family entertainment, says Synergy managing director Alex Sung, noting that the character appeals to young kids and adults. Just out is the third series, Backkom Sports. Synergy has also partnered with TF1 and Nickelodeon for Korean Studio Tuba Entertainment’s 3D HD Ooohhh Asis series. It now has as many as five co-production projects in play, among them Me And My Robot, which began production in February with French studio Millimages; G-Fighters, a co-production with Tiny Island Studios in Singapore; and Playground Robot, in partnership with Malaysian animation studio Tulus Firkir. Two feature projects, Yeti and Backkom, are also on the front burner.

Backkom, or Bernard Bear, a co-production with Korea’s RG Animation Studios and BRB Spain, brokered by Synergy Media

If there is one trend that Korea is all over, it is robots. One of its first breakout animation hits was Eon Kid (aka Iron Kid), a martial arts action series with robot mythology in the storyline. Eon Kid, which began drawing major international attention as early as 2007, was developed by Design Storm and co-produced by Daewon Media and Spain’s BRB Internacional. Aside from Synergy’s Me And My Robot and Playground Robot, Redrover’s Bolts & Blip shouts robots, sport and saving the Earth. RoiVision’s Robocar Poli, aimed at kids three to five years old, mixes robotic cars, fire engines, and helicopters in a co-production with EBS. The 52 x 11 mins HD series picked up a KOCCA prize in 2009 and was MIP Junior 2010 Licensing Challenge winner. In the series, police car Poli, fire engine Roi, Amber, a kind and smart ambulance, Helly, the witty Helicopter, and Jene, the eccentric inventor and operator, all come to the rescue when there’s trouble afoot. Robocar Poli also teaches kids basic safety tips.

While a fair amount of Korea’s animation has been tilted towards boys’ action, that is beginning to change. Sunwoo Entertainment managing director Moonju Kang says the company is seeking to balance its new development properties between boys’ action, girls’ content and family-oriented animation. The fully integrated network of companies, including animation, toys, character design, distribution and merchandising studios, is out in force at MIPTV with its latest co-production, Mix Master Final Force, a 39 x 22 mins 2D and 3D boys’ action production. It is also on the hunt for co-production partners for Ted, a 52 x 11 mins CGI educational title. Paul Kim, producer for G&G Entertainment’s new CG action/comedy series Maskman 3D, says comedy in anime is getting more play in Korea these days. In Maskman 3D, you have an evil doctor, magic masks and two characters — Blue Bomber and Pinky Winky — who thwart the evil doctor and save the world. Kim is on


the hunt at MIPTV for co-production partners. G&G has since 2000 co-produced numerous titles and in 2007 was the first Korean animation company to co-produce a television series with China. The Little Wizard Tao was created in partnership with Tan Peng studio in China. There is no getting around the fact that for Korea success in international animation media terms appears to be tied to co-production. Nearly every animation company in the country at play on the global media landscape is either doing it or attempting to do it. Government co-production subsidies help and so do international treaties. Broadcaster demand in Korea for animation has lessened and market tastes are becoming more niche. More to the point, for most producers these days it makes sense to think international from the beginning of any project. So what’s the strategy? How does Korea hook up with co-production partners? Some 60% of Synergy Media’s business is wrapped up in co-production, Sung says. “International co-production always has been and always will be a major part of our business at Synergy. As long as there is need, we will make efforts to co-produce.” He adds that, as an executive producer, Synergy doesn’t involve itself in the actual production, except for a couple of projects it is directly involved in through

association with affiliate studio Tuba Entertainment. At MIPTV, Synergy is looking for co-production projects that are developed by Korean studios and is exploring the existing distribution platform as well as new ways to distribute programmes. Sung notes, however, that co-production of this calibre is a process and it takes a longer time than other content, something both partners and investors need to keep in mind. Some co-production work comes as a result of treaties and the carefully

Me And My Robot, a Synergy Media co-production with French studio Millimages

six-year-olds. Global broadcast, distribution and merchandising rights are said to be worth $15m. In the case of Eori, which is being released in Korean, Bahasa Malaysia

International co-production always has been and always will be a major part of our business. As long as there is need, we will make efforts to co-produce

Alex Sung

laid groundwork of Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA). That’s the case with a the $2m deal inked last year between animation production and distribution company NHC Media and Malaysia’s Ed-Online Technologies. Ed-Online is an MSC Malaysian status company and multimedia developer focused on producing content for e-learning, communications and entertainment. The companies joined forces to produce 2D animated TV series Eori, targeting four- to

Iconix’ Tayo The Little Bus — looking for partners

(Malaysian language) and English, an alliance between KOCCA, the Seoul Business Agency and Malaysia’s Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) helped bring this co-production about. “It’s a cartoon I’m confident will be well received not only in Korea and Malaysia but worldwide,” says Hyeon-chai Ra, CEO of NHC Media. Sunwoo Entertainment has co-produced seven international projects in the last five years, among them Creepy, I Got A Rocket, Wild Animal Baby, Mix Master King Of Cards, Metajets, and Kungfu Dino Posse. Its latest is Mix Master Final Force. Sunwoo managing director Moonju Kang says: “We co-produce because it increases the potential for success and decreases the risk. We like to have three to five developments in our hands, and we eventually will greenlight about two shows annually.” Call For ChiChi, Pixtrend’s latest coproduction with Korea’s Neon Pumpkin and Millimages UK, is a full-CGI animated TV series that cashes in on a classic story-telling

mechanism — pop-up books. Two seven-year-old twins find a pop-up book hidden at the back of a dusty bookshelf. The book is titled Call For Chi-Chi. When they open it, a girl in a star-spangled dress and tall, pointed hat pops out and introduce Bella and Tommy to her living “pop-up” world, inhabited by wondrous and exotic creatures. “We showed ChiChi to world producers and broadcasters, and got a good response to our style and design,” says Sara Kyungwon Han Williams, president of Pixtrend and vice-president of Neon Pumpkin. “Once Millimages was on board, we co-developed a new concept and story.” That 11-minute pilot is being launched in Cannes. Han-Williams adds: “We’re expecting US investors to be on board soon as well.” Kids love the fringe element, and Vooz Club is mining that with CGI animation Canimals. The CG-animation and live-action production is a co-production between Korea’s Vooz Club, EBS, the UK’s Aardman, Screen 21 and Spain’s BRB Internacional. The 52 x 7 mins stereoscopic 3D series features the mischievous adventures of several can-shaped CGI animals. Voozclub and Samsung Electronics have also signed a co-development and licensing contract for the Canimals brand. Funnyflux Entertainment is in Cannes with its pre-school series Fly Boy! about a little red airplane and its life at the Sky High Airport. Funnyflux is also on track with its first international co-production, Tock-

FOCUS ON KOREA 2011 /

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FOCUS ON KOREA: ANIMATION

erty, in partnership with The Foundation, a Zodiac Media Group company. “The title is set to be aired around the world on Nickelodeon channels, including Nick Jr in the US,” says Chang Youn-Jean, producer, international programmes, for FunnyFlux. “The biggest hurdle Korean animation companies have when it comes to doing business abroad is finding a confident writer, and overcoming cultural barriers.” As Korean companies gain a reputation for their skills and professionalism, it is getting easier to find co-production partners abroad, she adds. Nayoung Lee, Redrover’s manager, licensing and marketing, notes that all of her company’s projects are planned and co-produced with Canada’s Toonbox Entertainment. “Toonbox handles the pre-production side and we develop the main production.” Co-productions on the table include Bana Royale, which follows a banished prince and his space pirate friends as they work to reclaim their rightful place in the world of Bana, and The Beet Party, an interactive property that, Lee says, “involves a hilarious way to learn about music production”. Character brand company Vooz develops diverse content, including animation and games, and licenses the characters internationally. Vooz has been working on Myo-Ga-Co since

2009 in a co-production with Spain’s Imira Entertainment, with Disney attached as well. The storyline is about three heroes on an epic quest to find the legendary Dr Hwa-Ta. Diminished demand on the part of Korean terrestrial broadcasters for kids anime has been a factor in pushing animators abroad to seek new markets. It does pose problems, however, and has a substantial impact. Content going abroad needs a test-bed, and a matrix for creativity to flourish. There are serious concerns that the animation industry in Korea, because it has managed to survive and to spread its wings abroad, may be taken by the government for a mature industry. It is not one, Synergy’s Sung insists. He adds that the 1% quota requiring terrestrial broadcasters to broadcast original animation has not been effective. “Free TV stations care less about the quality of animations, since 1% of the total airtime is practically nothing. As a result, it actually decreased the demand for high-quality animations. Animations were also placed at awkward times when the viewing public was not even aware they were airing.”

The issues on the table in the animation industry, both globally and in Korea, are complex. Sunwoo has a pack of subsidiaries that cross every area of the business. Sunwoo CEO Han-young Kang says: “The biggest challenge that Korea and the global market face is the downsizing of customers and that means kids. That is mainly due to the rise of new media.” Kids, he reminds us, have less time to watch animation on TV and instead devote their attention to online and console games, tablet PCs and mobile content. “It is critical these days that you need not only a good animation and good story to start with, but also additional content that supports the brand with a 360-degree approach to satisfy diversified entertainment needs.” Synergy’s Sung agrees that diversity “is always good for the business from a distributor’s point of view. However,” he adds, “Korea is still a growing market, not a mature one, and I do worry that diversity in platforms may cause a number of negative effects, and that capable and talented creatives, funds and even subsidies will not stay in the animation industry, but rather will leave for other platforms.”

We co-produce because it increases the potential for success and decreases the risk. We like to have three to five developments in our hands Moonju Kang

Korean animators are keeping a close eye on interactive, and all things that fall under the “new media” title, especially the spill from online games and the apps industry. New work is expected, either coming in as work for hire or being created as original content. Iconix is planning on churning out a raft of apps for Tayo and Pororo within the next few months. Redrover’s Lee says her company is developing music-related interactive media, apps and social network games. G&G’s Paul Kim says his company is “very open to animating for games and for the mobile platform on a work-for-hire basis.” He adds, however: “I see our real strength in our ability to develop stereoscopic 3D original productions for the television market.” For Korean animation, the creative window of opportunity is clearly there; it just has to be pushed wide open.

Iconix Entertainment’s Pororo The Little Penguin, which has travelled to more than 100 territories

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FOCUS ON KOREA: DRAMA

TELLING STORIES

The Duo (MBC)

Korean drama takes on the world A decade on from Korean drama’s international breakthrough, those compelling stories keep coming, as Marlene Edmunds discovers

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I

T HAS been more than a decade since hallyu fever began sending temperatures soaring, first across Asia, then around the world. Hallyu is the term used to describe international enthusiasm for Korean pop culture, but most analysts believe that it was also fuelled by the popularity of Korean drama. Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), Korea’s oldest public broadcaster, has been the most prolific producer of Korean drama, but terrestrial channels Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) regularly churn out dramas that have audiences glued to their screens. Cable channels across Korea have also got in on the action or are planning a major thrust into Korea’s most lucrative content export.

Today, there are few places in the world that have never seen a Korean drama or been infected by hallyu fever. Fan clubs abound across the globe, chatter about the latest Korean dramas and especially the Korean drama stars, fill the internet. Cable outfits offer up the newest dramas coming from Korea and home-entertainment websites tout the latest Korean dramas on DVD and other platforms. Korean drama reached a new level of popular acclaim with KBS’s Winter Sonata, part of a quartet of dramas aired nearly a decade ago. The adulation, with fans swooning at airports and hotels when handsome lead Bae Yong-jun appeared, was a phenomenon that had never been seen before in Korea in the context of a drama.

In 2010, KBS produced more than 1,000 episodes of drama, including mini-series, daily drama series, weekend drama series, epic drama and one-act drama series, as well as special projects. While in the past KBS has relied heavily on romance, now its slate is diversified across a number of themes. Detectives In Trouble, which began

We’re seeing a rise in production costs due to the increase in salaries for actors and actresses, and because of frequent overseas shoots Young Tak Go


FOCUS ON KOREA: DRAMA

airing in Korea in March and has been brought to MIPTV, is a tale that unveils some of the background to Korean-style police investigation. Medical drama Brain is set to debut in the second half of this year. KBS has built a major reputation for its historical dramas, among the latest The Great Conquerer, which has also made the trek to Cannes. The Great Conquerer is about the expansion of a Korean king into parts of China 2,000 years ago during the Goguryoe era. KBS is not shunning romance: its latest epic drama, Man Of The Princess, is a Korean take on Romeo and Juliet. It tells of the tragic love between a princess and the son of a famous general, who is a fierce opponent of her father. Romantic comedies abound this year and could trigger an all-out ratings war, if the titles are any indicator. The Beauty With The Baby Face is about an ageing unmarried woman who achieves

Latin audiences are looking for something other than telenovelas and American soaps. There are even fan clubs of Korean actors in Mexico and Peru Jean Hur BSG Police (MBC)

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Detectives In Trouble (KBS)

success in love and employment by lying about her age. Romantic comedy Marry Me is about a young woman who spends 100 days of marriage with two men and then decides which to live with. Not surprisingly, six Asian territories at press time were clamouring for it. Executive director of the drama department Young Tak Go says: “There are different reasons for the successes of the dramas. As an example, Marry Me does well with younger audiences in Japan and other Asian territories because the lead roles are played by popular actors and the

storyline — about a woman marrying two guys — is unique.” Bread, Love And Dreams, which has sold to some 13 territories in Asia, including China, doesn’t have a big name in its main cast, he points out, but it does have a strong script and underscores the sense of family values that appeals to Asian territories. “Bread, Love And Dreams was the highest-rated drama in Korea in 2010, bringing in a rating of as much as 50%,” Go points out. Dream High, he adds, received a lot of attention both at home and abroad even before it was aired, because its cast includes pop stars and it portrays high school students who want to become top singers. Despite the success of Korean drama, Go points to unwelcome changes and some hurdles. “We’re seeing a rise in production costs due to the increase in salaries for actors and actresses, and because of frequent overseas shoots. This can become a source of conflict between the broadcaster and external production companies we work with.” On top of that, he says. there is increased competition from China

and Taiwan, which are becoming successful with their own dramas. Telenovelas are also making inroads into South East Asia, giving Korea additional competition. Terrestrial channel MBC has established an enviable track record of success in Korea and internationally in the area of drama. Inside Korea, it is really a simple equation, says Jean Hur, senior manager for MBC’s contents business/global business strategy: “The Korean people love to watch drama.” MBC airs some 800 hours of drama a year, with slots devoted to the genre in the morning, early evening and late evening. Hur was in the industry when the Korean drama wave first began to roll and says one thing hasn’t changed in the last decade. No matter how many dramas Koreans see, “they want high-quality production and they want good storylines. Several bigbudget productions have failed because the storyline wasn’t strong enough.” Inside Korea, the hybrid drama, in which several sub-plots or thematic elements such as romance and suspense are intermingled, is becoming increasingly popular. MBC’s dramas began making waves across Asia early on, particularly in Japan. A big breakthrough came with its 2002 drama Friends, which fashioned the first drama co-production alliance between Korea and Japan. MBC’s historical dramas and romances have travelled the globe. Jewel In The Palace, a costume drama which also showcases Korean food, was in high demand, partly also because of lead actress Lee Young-ae. Since 2009, Hur says, the broadcaster has had considerable success in selling to Latin America. She adds: “Latin audiences are looking for something other than telenovelas and the American soaps. There are even fan clubs of Korean actors and K-pop singer groups in Mexico and Peru.���


FOCUS ON KOREA: DRAMA

MBC’s latest historical dramas, General Gyebaek, and The Duo, are on show in Cannes. It is expected that they will be in demand among territories that have gone for previous MBC historical dramas. Gyebaek was a Korean general who fought in a decisive battle in 660 AD. The defeat of his army led to the collapse of the Baekje Dynasty in Korea, after 678 years of rule. One of the patterns in taekwondo, the national sport of Korea, is reportedly named after him. Additional historical dramas Jewel In The Palace and Queen Seundeuk are also being showcased at MIPTV. MBC also has on its slate My Princess, which Hur calls “a genuine romantic comedy”, starring actor Son Seung Hun. “This has been the hottest-selling drama for MBC throughout Asia and beyond,” she says. On the way is Condition Of Love, a romantic comedy about backstage romance among top stars starring in a reality show, to debut in Korea in May. SBS has a long history of successful drama production. In 2010 it turned out 22 titles, including Asia sensation Secret Garden, which broadcast in Korea until January this year. It has so far sold to 15 territories in Asia alone, including Japan. Jae-Young Choi, head of the global business team at SBS, notes that the sale to public broadcaster NHK in Japan brought in one of the highest licence The Thorn Birds (KBS)

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fees ever paid for an SBS drama. What’s the secret? “It’s different for every title, but for Secret Garden it’s about strong and fresh narrative,” Choi says. “For CSI-style medical suspense show Sign it’s about a strong plot, editing and acting, rather than the particular genre or celebrities.” Airing in Korea on SBS has been 49 Days, the story of a young woman in a coma who is given a second chance at life by the grim reaper. But there is one condition: she has to find three people outside her family who will cry genuine tears for her. Midas has an entirely different theme and worldview: it is about the financial world, and life amid the mergers and acquisitions trade. SBS is producing some 20 drama titles this year. Korea has a flotilla of cable channels and more set to launch in the near future. Some, like MBC+Media, are niche subsidiaries of the major terrestrials. A third of the budget of MBC+Media is earmarked for drama and that translates into two to three titles a year, says Terry (Taehui) Kim, manager, sales & acquisition. BSG Police, now in production for its fourth season, is a forensics costume drama, set 100 years ago. It has been sold to a number of territories, among them Japan, Burma, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as being aired on MBC Every1 in the US. The third season of BSG Police is at MIPTV.

Dream High (KBS)

KBS Drama and KBS Prime are cable and satellite channels that also carry drama. SBS International’s SBS Plus, a 24-hour drama and sports channel on DirecTV in the US, also airs the latest drama. KBS’s Go believes that the new cable channels set to launch in Korea this year will open up a fierce competition among drama broadcasters. It may also bring additional work for drama production companies. Previously cable was seen as an outlet for watching drama reruns from the terrestrials, but cable channels OCN and others believe that a new day is dawning. OCN has taken some lessons from American cable giant HBO and there is a belief among cable executives that the platform could become the one for daring drama that terrestrial channels might nor risk airing. So far, cable outfits such as CJ Media have established an interesting track record. TvN has aired seven seasons of a Missy Young-ae, a Bridget Jones-style docu-drama, and it My Princess (MBC)

looks like there will be more where that came from. Newly revamped CJ E&M, a merger between CJ Entertainment, CJ Media, OnMedia, CJ Internet, and Mnet Media, is now Korea’s biggest vertically integrated media conglomerate. It announced at the start of March, when it unveiled the new entity’s plans, that it would be putting increased emphasis on TV drama. Korea is not limiting its drama fever to any specific screen: local fans watch the stories unfold any time and anywhere they can get them, especially on mobile. KBC’s Young Tak Go


FOCUS ON KOREA: DOCUMENTARY

THE REAL WORLD

Programmes for inquiring minds Prolific and popular, Korean documentaries are also innovative, as 3D titles and other ambitious programmes demonstrate at MIPTV. Marlene Edmunds offers a preview

The Last Tundra (SBS)

K

OREA has a long and respected history of bringing documentaries not only to its own audiences but also to the world. It is a reputation that was established long before the documentary became the trend across the globe. Korean documentary makers also climbed aboard the HD — and now the 3D — train well before most other players around the globe. Of Korea’s major broadcasting

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channels — KBS, MBC, SBS and EBS — the one with the clearest brief in the documentary area is EBS. Its very name — Educational Broadcasting System — implies its mission and, true to that, it turns out more than 800 hours of documentaries a year. “I’m not sure how many documentaries other broadcasters produce, but this is a considerable amount of time for a single company to set aside for

documentaries,” says EBS director of international marketing Peter Lee. In the past, the broadcaster had a brief that included kids programming, but its focus changed several years ago when EBS began to significantly step up its investment in documentaries and particularly in 3D titles. “We began churning out a stream of travelogues, nature, wildlife, history and science programming,” Lee says.

EBS is bringing the 3D documentary Angkor, The Land Of Gods (2 x 50 mins) to MIPTV. This first instalment of the series 3D -The World’s Great Constructions is a coproduction with Cambodia’s TVK. “It reconstructs Angkor Wat and Bayon temples, two of the greatest architectural marvels of Asian history, using 3D and other hi-tech computer graphics technology,” says Lee. “The mixture of live-action and


FOCUS ON KOREA: DOCUMENTARY

computer graphics allows the viewer to visualise the magnificence of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer empire.” The second instalment of the series, The Great Babylon, is expected to be completed in early 2012. Public broadcaster KBS’s documentary department is kept very busy, in the light of the evolution of the genre itself in Korea and abroad, says Hee Sub Yang, executive director of the documentary department. He says that Korean documentaries are becoming almost as popular as drama. In a territory where drama is a staple of TV viewing, that says something. Yang adds: “Some titles, such as The Last Legacy Of The Green Earth, The Congo Basin, got higher ratings than did some of the dramas in the same time slot.” The pubcaster’s two channels, KBS1 and KBS2, broadcast a whopping 40 hours a week of documentary programming, 30 hours on KBS1. In addition, the broadcaster churns out more than 100 hours a year of largescale special documentary projects. Yang notes an interesting trend emerging that says something about the sophistication of documentary viewers in Korea. “Series such as The Last Legacy, MBC’s Tears collection, or SBS’s The Last Tundra are bigbudget productions but their storyline is also dealing with the relationship between human beings and nature. It’s a very different approach to the pure eco-

Titles such as The Last Legacy Of The Green Earth, The Congo Basin got higher ratings than did some of the dramas in the same time slot Hee Sub Yang

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The 3D documentary Angkor, The Land Of Gods (EBS)

documentaries and one to which our viewers can really relate.” KBS is bringing to Cannes the five episode series The Amur River – East Asia Exploration and the fourepisode series The Last Legacy Of The Green Earth, The Congo Basin. The Amur River describes the endangered species, vast natural habitat and the lives of natives on the Amur. The Congo Basin title portrays a tropical rain forest harbouring some 400 species of mammals, 650 species of birds, 500 species of fish and more than 10,000 species of plants. Korean terrestrial channel Munhwa Broadcasting Corp. (MBC) has gained a respected position worldwide with its innovative big-budget productions and original themes. The Tears series referred to above began in 2008 with Tears In The Arctic, continued in 2009 with Tears In The Amazon, Tears In Africa in 2010 and this year is finishing up with Tears In Antarctica. Each threehour series has a production budget of $1.5m-$2m and focuses on how environmental changes affect hu-

Wallace Line (MBC)


FOCUS ON KOREA: DOCUMENTARY

man and wildlife. Jean Hur, senior manager of contents business/global business & strategy, at MBC, says: “Tears In The Amazon was the bestrated documentary of all time with Korean audiences.” MBC will be at MIPTV with Tears In Africa, as well as Wallace Line, the latter a documentary about evolution under the sea. It is also showcasing Mom And The Red Bean Cake, an international Emmy winner for 2010 about a single mother trying to support and raise her family. MBC Group’s cable subsidiary, MBC+Media, spends some 13% of its production budget on documentaries, mainly made to feed MBC Life, a docu-lifestyle channel launched in 2009. Terry (Tae-hui) Kim, MBC+Media manager, sales & acquisition, says: “We’re a niche player and there is a lot of competition in the documentary genre, but Paper Road, our first documentary project, was bought by Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan as well as by at least one European territory, so that’s an interesting start.” MBC+Media will also be bringing Left, a documentary featuring famed Korean actor Bae Yong-jun narrating his journey to discover the hidden beauty of Korean culture. If you see throngs of buyers angling for this one, don’t be surprised. Bae, also known as Yon-sama, is a film and TV star whose career shot through the roof with the release in 2002 of KBS’s drama Winter Sonata. As the drama’s male lead, he left a trail of swooning women across Asia every time the programme aired in a new territory. Produced for the 20th anniversary of SBS, The Last Tundra is an indication of the kind of quality and commitment that the Korean broadcaster has to the documentary genre. The four-part series aired toward the end of last year and its

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Asiatic Black Bears Returned To Nature (SBS)

KBS's The Amur River — East Asia Exploration

movie edition appeared in February of this year. The documentary is about the life of the Nenets, the last reindeerherding tribe of nomads living in the Siberian tundra. Narrated by Korean actress Ko Hyeon-jeong, it follows the seasonal life of the tribe and its yearly migration of more than 1,000 kilometres through one of the harshest climates on Earth. It also depicts one of the most beautiful topographies, a land of Northern Lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer. The shooting of The Last Tundra took more than 300 days. SBS has a special documentary programme slot titled SBS Special in which it broadcasts more than 50 titles a year, as well as additional bigger projects. It has also been involved in a very unusual documentary project and film, titled Asiatic Black Bears Returned To Nature. The project to restore Asiatic black bears, threatened with extinction, back into the wild was undertaken in 2001 by the ministry of the environment and SBS. SBS for its part enlisted the help of numerous celebrities for what has now become a major talking point in Korea. After 10 years and considerable intervention, two Asiatic black bears have survived in the wild.

Our first documentary project was bought by Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan as well as by at least one European territory, so that’s an interesting start MBC's Paper Road

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FOCUS ON KOREA: MEDIA LANDSCAPE

FUTURE AMBITIONS Superstar K2 (Mnet)

Winning content From shipbuilding to domestic appliances, Korea is a world leader. Now it is the turn of content owners OUTH KOREA is no stranger to global enterprise or ambitions. Samsung and LG are among the world’s biggest brand names, and in the area of technology Korea has been a global force for years. It was the first country in the world to have nearly 100% broadband coverage. In May 2005, it launched the world’s first official mobile TV service, although trials started much

S

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earlier. Digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) was pioneered on both satellite and terrestrial channels, offering up a pack of TV and radio programming. Overnight, Koreans were glued to their DMB, taking the opportunity to watch their favourite TV shows and sport while commuting and in offices. Korea also launched the first satellite 3D channel in the world, in January 2009, and began digital terrestrial trials with 3D last year, broadcasting sport and other programmes. It is still early days when it comes to Korea playing out its ambitions to become a global content player but it has already done the groundwork. Major Korean media companies are revamping their operations to compete globally across all playing fields.

KBS, MBC and SBS began unrolling their global strategies nearly a decade ago and now have offices in key locations, especially in the US, and plan to open more. In early March, South Korea’s CJ Group announced it had finished consolidating all of its industry affiliates under the banner CJ Entertainment and Media (CJ E&M). The move brought CJ Media, On Media, CJ Entertainment, Mnet Media

and CJ Internet under one umbrella to form Korea’s largest vertically integrated media conglomerate. Its assets run the gamut from broadcast to film to TV to games and music. Plans already announced include pumping up content holdings worldwide by widening TV and film assets, including investment and distribution locally and globally. The new conglomerate is predicting its sales by

Drama is still our lead driver but KBS sees a steady increase in sale of documentaries in Europe and entertainment programming in South East Asia Oh-Suk Kwon


FOCUS ON KOREA: MEDIA LANDSCAPE

2015 will be as much as $886m. KOCCA has crafted international marketing strategies, opened overseas offices that smooth the way to trade, offered advice on how to tap co-production treaties and brought delegations of Korean industry executives to trade fairs such as MIPTV. All of this has helped to bolster international opportunities for Korean content and it has particularly helped when it comes to drama. “Drama is still our lead driver but KBS sees a steady increase in sale of documentaries in Europe and entertainment programming in South East Asia, and we have signed with a leading format production outfit to promote the sales of our formats internationally,” says Oh-Suk Kwon, executive director of KBS’s content policy department, content business and intellectual property division. KOCCA is devoting substantial support to the format industry, including bringing a number of format producers to Cannes with a mission to observe trends in the sector as well as do deals. The major networks are at MIPTV with formats such as KBS’s The Golden Bell Challenge, a survival show for students, MBC’s Just Married, a reality show Sparks Network is exclusively promoting worldwide, and The Unlimited Challenge. The last is an ongoing reality show in Korea with six comedians facing mental and

KBS’s The Golden Bell Challenge, a survival show for students

KBS’s Oh-Suk Kwon: “Drama is still our lead driver”

The monetary value of talent-show prizes in Korea is increasing as well, pushing up the likelihood that audiences will stay glued to their screens

The Unlimited Challenge sees six comedians in tough mental and physical tasks

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physical ordeals, including racing against subway trains. Everyshow’s After Love – Take Care Of My Ex has ex-spouses setting up dates for their partners, while Man & Woman — a format from CJ Media, now part of CJ E&M — looks at how the behaviour of men and women differ. With four new cable channels entering the Korean media arena this year, pundits are predicting a big rise in the number of formats the country turns out. When it comes to formats, entertainment and talent shows are clearly playing to audience demands, particularly on cable. Cable operator tvN has both Korea’s Got Talent and Opera Star 2011. Mnet’s Superstar K2 in its second season brought in 1.3 million applicants to be on the show. At press time it was auditioning for its third season. The monetary value of talent-show prizes in Korea is increasing as well, pushing up the likelihood that audiences will stay glued to their screens. Superstar K2 has been singled out by CJ E&M as the type of content the newly revamped company would like to use through multiple platforms. This “one-source multi-use” strategy has been cited by several Korean executives as being an important part of their strategies. The jury is out on whether there will be enough advertising spend to go around in Korea when the new cable companies begin seriously competing for larger slices of the advertising pie. Cable companies obviously have a more optimistic view, and not without reason. Cheil, South Korea’s largest ad agency and one of the biggest in the world, reports that 2010 total ad spend in South Korea jumped 16.5%. Internet posted the highest rise, at 24.5%, with cable right behind, increasing by 23.8% from a year earlier.



MIPTV 2011 FOCUS on KOREA