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Yoon's meeting with US media giants highlights growing interest in Korean content

By Park Ga-young

Published : April 28, 2023 - 14:22

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol talks about the Korean content industry during the Global Video Content Leadership Forum, organized by the Motion Picture Association of America at MPA's headquarters in Washington on Thursday. (Yonhap) South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol talks about the Korean content industry during the Global Video Content Leadership Forum, organized by the Motion Picture Association of America at MPA's headquarters in Washington on Thursday. (Yonhap)

In a meeting that highlights a growing interest in the Korean content industry, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met major players in the US entertainment industry on Thursday before leaving Washington.

Yoon attended the Global Video Content Leadership Forum, organized by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) held at its headquarters. The forum brought together media giants such as Paramount, Warner Brothers, Discovery, NBC, Universal, Sony Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Netflix.

Collectively, these six companies hold a 77 percent share in the global movie and video market and a 45 percent share in the global streaming market.

From the South Korean side, entertainment companies such as CJ Group, Watcha, AStory, Raeongraien, Creative Leaders Group 8 and Entermedia Pictures were present.

Welcoming the South Korean president, MPA CEO Charles Rivkin noted that the Yoon administration “shares our belief in the cultural and economic value of the film, TV and streaming industry.”

“Our members’ growing investments in Korean language and other productions, and their partnerships with local industry are captivating audiences with even more stories, told in ever more authentic and innovative ways. We are excited to continue these conversations in ways that expand our special partnership, advance our shared goals and nourish the next generation of storytellers across the US and the Republic of Korea,” he said, referring to South Korea by its official name.

Forum participants discussed the importance of a predictable content production and distribution ecosystem rooted in open markets, strong copyright and international trade rules.

In his address to the CEOs and other major industry players, President Yoon promised his full support, noting that both South Korean and US content are deeply rooted in freedom, which is relatable to fans across the world.

"States must not put boundaries on culture. The Korean market is of course incorporated into the single world market, and if there are regulations on the Korean culture or movie industries that are different from global standards, I will certainly get rid of them," Yoon said, adding that he hopes that cultural exchanges would expand as a result of the event.

The US companies, in turn, revealed their intentions to increase investment in producing more than 45 Korean titles this year and to enhance collaboration with the Korean content industry and creators.

Thursday’s meeting with entertainment leaders highlights increasing global interest in Korean content, as it was the first time a Korean president has formally met with top representatives of the American entertainment industry. Also a first was the presence of the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in the South Korean delegation to a state visit.

"Another key focus of President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to the US, besides security and the economy, has been culture and K-video content." Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon said during the forum. "It is rare for MPA executives and six global video content companies to gather at one place during a president's state visit. It's a scene that reflects the high global status and influence of K-video content," he added.

Following the event, the Korea Creative Content Agency and the Korea Film Council signed an memorandum of understanding with Netflix to foster more talent in the production industry among young Koreans while expanding Korean content globally.

South Korean Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon (third from left) and first lady Kim Keon Hee (fourth from left) attend a signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the Smithsonian Institution and the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. (Yonhap) South Korean Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon (third from left) and first lady Kim Keon Hee (fourth from left) attend a signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the Smithsonian Institution and the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. (Yonhap)

Also on Thursday, the Culture Ministry signed its first memorandum with the Smithsonian Institution of the US to enhance cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two organizations.

The deal will facilitate cooperation between 23 cultural arts institutions under the ministry and 21 such institutions under the Smithsonian, including personnel exchanges for academic research and professional development, joint research, exhibitions and art loans.