CJ E&M looks to export more Korean content

Terrestrial channels and major cable channels, CJ E&M included, are looking for more opportunities to export their content.

CJ E&M Korean Dramas SNL Korea The Genius Game


CJ E&M won Best Game/ Quiz Programme award for The Genius Game and Best Drama Series for The Incomplete at last year’s Asian Television Awards. The broadcaster was also Highly Commended for Best Adaptation of an existing format for SNL Korea Season 6.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Hwang Jin Woo, General Manager / Head, Formats, Media Content Business of CJ E&M (Korea) to distill the recipe of success. Here’s what he had to say.

Hwang Jin Woo from CJ E&M

CJ E&M on what makes Korean content a hit

Tell us about your thoughts on winning / being highly commended at the Asian Television Awards.

On behalf of tvN, we are very honoured to have received two awards and one commendation. It is exciting to know that such programs were recognised not only in Korea, but throughout Asia. The awards provide visibility for us within the TV industry and are a great motivation to our production and marketing teams, as well as everyone involved in making these great shows.

Why do you think you have won in your respective categories?

We believe that “Empathy” and “Innovation” are indispensable elements in tvN’s content. This appeals to both domestic and international viewers. Whatever genre tvN creates, we focus on the interest of ordinary people. Rather than featuring unrealistic stories, tvN makes an attempt to come up with content that viewers can highly relate with. In this sense, the drama ‘Incomplete’ portrays ordinary people working in a competitive workplace in South Korea from a realistic perspective. Thus, viewers were able to empathise with the characters that reflect their own struggles as salaried workers.

For entertainment shows, we believe innovative content such as ‘The Genius Game’ and ‘SNL Korea’ is highly attractive to viewers in Asia. In ‘The Genius Game’ contestants not only have their intelligence tested, but their social strategies to form alliances is are key points in ensuring their survival. Celebrities backstabbing and betraying one another, while solving difficult problems, has captured viewers from all around the world.

In case of SNL Korea, it is one of the most successful foreign formats adapted in Asia. SNL Korea brings a new perspective to the original Korean comedy genre and addresses trending topics on social media. By presenting innovative and fresh items on the show, SNL Korea is able to capture the interest of domestic and international viewers.

How competitive is the TV content industry in Korea at the moment?

Currently, the Korean TV content industry is highly competitive. Internally, there are three terrestrial channels and over 100 cable channels. As the number of domestic viewers is limited, all of the channels are intensely competing against one another for viewers by producing high-quality and entertaining shows.

Externally, the domestic TV industry is undergoing a rapid change in terms of production and distribution. Due to digital technology, the development of internet and viewers fragmentation, TV channels are struggling to respond to the changing patterns of viewers and the new multi-platform landscape. Especially, a high rate of the younger generation in Korea are shifting from watching real time content to consuming TV content through VOD services or short clips on mobiles. As a result, the domestic TV content industry is trying to cope with such a change of viewing patterns and hold on to their viewers.

Do you foresee more Korean content being exported out in the next few years?

In the upcoming years, more Korean content will definitely be exported to overseas markets. Almost all terrestrial channels and major cable channels, CJ E&M included, are looking for opportunities to sell their formats abroad and build partnerships for international co-production. As Korean content is loved around the world, we expect more Korean content to gain international recognition and be adapted in new countries.

Would you submit for the Asian Television Awards again? Why?

Yes, submission for the Asian Television Awards is already in our agenda for 2016. As the Asian Television Awards attracts a wide range of broadcasters and content providers, we believe it is a great opportunity for our content to be highly recognised throughout Asia. Winning at an award with a prestigious reputation also plays a key role in promoting not only our content, but CJ E&M itself. We hope to participate in the Asian Television Awards 2016 with more innovative and entertaining content, which will capture Asian viewers.