CEO of Synergy Media Eugene Kang has issued a press release detailing some of the challenges and opportunities in the Korean animation market. (see Newswire Today)
While the Korean animation market is facing rising cost for OEM production meaning production has become cheaper in other countries, Kang believes Korea is becoming a place for producers to turn to for original content.
Another challenge Kang mentions is new distribution channels such as IPTV, which make the distribution environment ‘obscure’. This is a valid point, given that while IPTV and other internet channels are often looked to as proliferating the number of channels thereby increasing distribution options, the audiences of each of these channels is likely to be small. Therefore unless they have a well established niche viewership that is attractive to potential advertisers, these channels are likely to be filled with low-cost content that has already recouped it production costs rather than new and original content that has yet to earn revenue. Because the channels are not yet established, the operators would be unlikely to pay pre-sales for a new production unless they have very deep pockets.
Further, despite the shrinking of the domestic market, due to its talent in producing high-quality animation and supportive government programs, it is an ideal country to engage with for co-productions.
This certainly seems consistent with my impression of this industry in Korea. While there seemed to be a lack of talented scriptwriters, the sophistication of many animation studios combined with the entrepreneurship of producers suggests that a co-pro that employed foreign writing talent with Korean design and technical skills may produce properties that are successful internationally.