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Global content creators gather in Seoul for conference, marketing

All Headlines 14:51 August 31, 2016

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's biggest marketplace for content creators opened in Seoul Wednesday to vitalize the related industries, publicize high-quality entertainment products outside the country and create a marketing venue for domestic and overseas buyers.

BroadCast WorldWide (BCWW), hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, kicked off today under the theme of "Content, Infinite Possibilities" and runs until Sep. 2 at the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) in southern Seoul.

The country's three terrestrial networks--MBC, KBS, SBS--and popular cable channels like JTBC are in attendance the event, while 240 foreign networks such as BBC Worldwide and NHK have also come to check out the media trends in one of the world's most rapidly growing cultural powerhouses.

In the press briefing that took place before the official launch of the event Wednesday afternoon, three guest speakers briefly discussed their thoughts about the trends and future of Korean content industry and beyond.

Michael Ellenberg, former Executive Vice President (EVP) of HBO who oversaw the production of globally popular dramas such as "Game of Thrones," shared with the press what he believed was the most important factor in creating a successful show.

While there should be a universal appeal, he said, it was more about a story with an "authentic, truthful and unique" perspective, which was told in great detail, that had a bigger appeal for him.

A fan of South Korean directors Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook, he said watching the two directors' movies such as "The Host" and "The Handmaiden" "knocked me out."

"Korean television and movie talents seem to take a really big risk and do things really differently," Ellenberg said. "Korean artists frequently take a traditional genre and do it very differently," and watching them do it is "always exciting and inspiring," he said.

Ellenberg is scheduled to make a speech later this afternoon on what he believes are essential conditions and requirements to make a globally successful drama.

Gene Klein, another guest speaker from the U.S. entertainment industry, said he noticed over the years that the strength of a local industry seemed to be very important to exert a powerful influence over other entertainment markets. Also having previously worked for HBO, he co-produced popular American legal television series "Suits" on the cable network USA.

"A local industry where people are confident that they know they can tell a story in their own way" has the potential to expand into a bigger market, he said, adding "In Korea, there are very original voices, settings and standards for other people, which I think is awesome."

On the expansion of broadcast formats, Sean Richard, an actor and an independent producer, said it is "very exciting" that more and more people turn to online entertainment content.

Co-producer and male protagonist of "Dramaworld" a web-based series about a 20-year-old American college student who falls in love with Korean dramas, Richard said there are advantages and disadvantages of the internet platform.

"The thing that I went through with Dramaworld was that they were asking, 'Is it a U.S. show or a Korean show?' Then I say, 'No, these are for fans all over the world.'"

Born to a British father and Korean mother, he said "The advantages are now we can make content based on what people like, not necessarily where they reside" while citing a smaller production budget as one of the biggest challenges.

"But I think things will keep changing as this platform will keep evolving and more people keep watching them," he said.

For the coming two days, seminars on the entertainment content and formats in the digital era will take place with industry experts from all around the world, accompanied by marketing and sales sessions where content creators and investors can check out the latest trends of the industry.


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