June 26, 2006
Eastern Europe will become the next beachhead for Korean broadcasts including dramas and documentaries.
The Korean Broadcasting Commission(KBC) and the Budapest branch of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency have decided to encourage the exports of Korean broadcasts to Central and Eastern European countries. The decision came based on the results of the DISCOP 2006, an annual fair for televised programs, which was held from June 22 to 24 in Budapest, Hungary
At the DISCOP 2006, some 200 Korean broadcasting programs were presented, including dramas such as "Jumong," "Daejanggeum (A Jewel in the Palace)," "The God of the Sea" and "All In."
The Korean programs drew an unexpectedly positive response from buyers coming from Hungary, Poland, the Czech, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and Israel. In particular, MBC concluded immediate contracts with a Ukrainian distributor regarding its drama "Damo" and two natural documentaries.
It is the first time such a large number of Korean broadcasting programs was introduced to Central and Eastern Europe.
No Korean dramas have been aired on broadcasters of EU countries including Hungary and Poland.
At the broadcasting fair, KBS and MBC negotiated with officials from Hungarian state-run broadcaster MTV and discussed details for exports of their dramas.
KBC official Baek Yoo-mi said, "We have thought it is not highly likely to create a Korean pop culture boom in Europe since we don’t share common sentiments and culture with them. However, through the event, we became confident in the fact that we can succeed in the niche market of Central and Eastern European countries if we choose and export appropriate broadcasting products that have appeal to European viewers."
In a separate move, under the support of the Hungarian branch of Samsung Electronics, Hungary-based Korean trading firm Samma International is in negotiations with Hungarian broadcasters and distributors to export the drama "Winter Sonata" to the Eastern European country.
"Winter Sonata" will likely become the first Korean drama to be aired on an Eastern European broadcaster once a program schedule hitch is resolved.
Samma International chief Choi Gui-sun said, "Among Eastern European countries, Hungary is the country that shares sentiments similar to those of Korea. Therefore, it is possible the broadcasting of Korean dramas can create an overseas Korean pop culture boom in that country."