Korean 3D producers to target western audiences

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In an interview with 3D Focus and Global Media Consult, SVP of Korea HD Broadcasting Corp Ms. Kim said that the broadcaster is planning to increase its 3D output suitable for western audiences

review dividing line Korean 3D producers to target western audiences

The following article has been written in cooperation with 3D content distributor, Global Media Consult

It can be too easy to focus on the western 3D content market but in South Korea, a culture of embracing new technology and Government financial support is nurturing a small but growing 3D content industry.

Some highly innovative and well financed 3D Korean productions have been showcased at the recent MIP TV markets including The Great Doctor 3D – a high budget 3D drama with stunning visuals (click here for promo) and other shows across a range of genres such as …

A Life of Firefly (documentary)
3D Panoramic Views in Korea (travel)
The M: K-pop Concert (concert)
Monster Music Factory in 3D (education)
Island: 3D Travel Essay (travel)
3D Real Lesson: Shall We Golf? (golf training)
K-1 (worldwide kickboxing promotion in Tokyo)
Arang (musical opera)
Sparkling Korea Festivals (documentary)
Korean Rope Dancing (performance)
3D: Seoul Fashion Week (fashion)
Oops! (The world’s first 3D hidden camera project)

3D lifestyle channel HIGH TV 3D signed their first carriage deal with Korea Telecom (KT) in April 2011 indicating the appetite for new 3D services in the region.

The world’s first round-the-clock 3D channel SKY 3D was launched on the SKY LIFE platform by the Korea HD Broadcasting Corp. in January 2010. The Korea HD Broadcasting Corp. began as one HD channel in 2003 adding more genres of HD channels on satellite, cable and IPTV. The Korea HD Broadcasting Corp. now consists of eight channels, one of which being SKY 3D (which has no relation to SKY 3D UK) and PPV view channel, ‘3D PPV’. SKY 3D is available to SKY LIFE’s 3.2 million subscribers of which 200,000 own 3D televisions.

Whilst 3D channels like Sky 3D UK, Sky 3D Italia, Sky 3D Deutschland , ESPN 3D and 3net are currently signing co-production and acquisition deals, Korean 3D content rarely finds an audience outside of its domestic market due to cultural differences. However, Ms. Kim, SVP of Korea HD Broadcasting Corp. has told 3dfocus.co.uk and Global Media Consult that she expects this to change…

“About 80% of the 3D programmes are targeted to the domestic audience with 20% intended for overseas sales. While demand for 3D content is still low in Korea, the Korea HD Broadcasting Co. plans to increase its programming catered for international audiences in Asia and Europe, with an expected ratio of 50/50 next year. As there is more and more demand for 3D content in Asia and Europe, I plan to increase the share for foreigners.”

Ms. Kim continued,” We found it was very hard for Korean producers to satisfy different audiences, but I can see positive changes in their attitude. My company’s producers are getting used to targeting western audiences gradually. We are aiming for multi-cultural 3D audiences for most of our 3D content.“

What is unique about Korea is that the Government partly funds 3D production and therefor there is less pressure to attract sponsors and subscribers in this early stage of a new market.

“Korean Governments are keen on placing Korean 3D content in the global market place, so they are working hard  to incubate 3D producers and 3D content in various genres such as movies, animations, documentaries, live action etc.” said Ms. Kim.

Ms. Kim is optimistic that this support will continue saying “I think that any foreign productions /producers who could co-work with a Korean 3D channel operator or platform, will have incentives to get government support or vice versa.”

Right now, if any 3D producers are able to co-produce with a Korean production company they can apply for a government grant.

Although 3D TV sales, like in the rest of the world, are still small, more South Korean households are buying 3D TVs as the prices reduce. Two Pay-TV  platforms (satellite, IPTV) and 2 channels ( SKY 3D & 3D PPV)  are marketing 3D services vigorously plus the Government is currently testing full 3D channels for Free-To-Air TV this year, increasing the number of test broadcast hours next year.

Whilst 3D audiences remain small, international sales are more important than ever for 3D producers and distributors. If content can cross over the cultural divide, it can only be a good thing for the 3D television market in general.

For more information about the Korea HD Broadcasting Corp. click here
Watch a video interview here