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'Korea, Important Market for Content Creators'

2009/09/20 Source

By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

The Broadcast Worldwide (BCWW) Exhibition is an annual event where broadcasters and exhibitors gather to attract buyers from all over the world. The British Broadcast Company (BBC) Worldwide was among the participants at this year's event.

"BBC Worldwide has 50,000 hours of programs. You can always find something depending on genres and target audience. We have basically found something for every broadcaster", Joyce Yeung, the senior vice president and general manager of Sales and Distribution Asia at BBC Worldwide, told The Korea Times last week at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center, southern Seoul.

The owner of some of the most popular programs, including "Strictly Come Dancing", the original version of the hit program "Dancing with the Stars" and also "Doctor Who", has tasted success in attracting Korean viewers and are looking into bringing more.

According to Yeung, documentaries and natural history programs are popular here, as well as serial dramas such as "Doctor Who". The famous series won the Most Popular Drama of the Year at the Seoul Drama Awards 2009 early this month.

"What the audience is looking for is contemporary, and things (local broadcasters) might not be able to produce. (Considering) Doctor Who's sci-fi, time traveling and costumes, buying the full made drama would be much cheaper than producing one yourself. And being the BBC, the production quality is guaranteed", said Yeung.

The next step for the company is localizing and co-production.

"Dancing with the Stars" has not hit Korea yet, but Yeung said the company is talking with potential clients.

"It will work in Korea. Korea is a country that adores their celebrities, and this is a show made by the local stars. We have had the Indian and Chinese (version) and we would like to expand that to Korea", she said.

Yeung added that co-production was also an effective way to attract potential viewers, following the example of China's "Wild China".

"We have done the `Wild' series, such as 'Wild Indonesia' and Wild Australia'. We have spent three years in preparation and two years shooting for Wild China and the finished product is fascinating. We have filmed wild pandas mating on screen for the first time ever and we couldn't have done it without the help of the government because they opened the area for us".

Korea being one of the most wired countries in the world will also help BBC Worldwide get closer to viewers. The BBC has become one of the pioneers in impacting consumer behavior by offer technologies such as the "iplayer", which offers viewers the chance to catch up on BBC shows online.

"We are very fascinated that the same thing happened to Korean consumers with online connections, including mobile phones, digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) technology and IPTV platforms", she said.

"As a contents creator we would love to have more platforms where we can offer our contents and so we are looking forward to 2010", Yeung said.

The BCWW came to an end Sept. 12, with deals for exports totaling $20 million through the sale of local dramas such as "IRIS" (KBS), "Queen Seon-deok" (MBC) and "Style" (SBS).

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