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The Secrets of Asian Content Receiving World’s Attention

In 2020, Asia's largest broadcasting and video content event Broadcast Worldwide Contents Market 2020 (BCWW 2020) which is hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and organized by the Korea Creative Content Agency was held online from September 7th to September 9th due to the spread of COVID-19.

This year’s theme “Content, Designing the New Normal” included various programs that provided domestic and international professionals in media and entertainment industries with new insights and business opportunities to prepare for the new media era. In one of the sessions, Marty Adelstein, CEO of Tomorrow Studios, introduced the process of discovering IP (Intellectual Property) in Korea and Japan. Marty Adelstein is a veteran producer who created the famous series ‘Prison Break’.

He produced the drama ‘Snowpiercer’ by using Director Bong Joon-ho’s IP film ‘Snowpiercer’. The drama series became really popular ranking 1st in America’s cable channel TNT. He mentioned that the show was a work that anyone could relate to because it was associated to the current situation, climate change. Originally, ‘Snowpiercer’ is a French Graphic novel that became famous from the movie ‘Snowpiercer’.

Novel, TV series, Movie <Snowpiercer> Poster, CJ E&M and TNT, source CJ E&M and TNT
Anime series <Cowboy Bepop> Poster, TV Tokyo, source TV Tokyo

Tomorrow Studios is also making a drama series for the legendary Japanese TV animation ‘Cowboy Bepop’, which is to be released on Netflix. "Many producers are looking for good contents in Asia, including Korea and Japan." He added “What is interesting about Asian content is that fans are enthusiastic. If the remake show is not produced properly, fans criticize. The important goal is to pay attention to the original work.”

Adlestein explained that it is easy to sell Asian IPs to foreign broadcasts or platforms nowadays. “The reason is because now there are many people in the media industry who know the original work.” On top of that, he pointed out that there are advantages when the original work is famous. “When I secured Cowboy Bepop’s IP, I was surprised that I received numerous calls from studio CEOs, and writers that they want to work with me which proves why the original IP is crucial.”

“I have learned an important lesson in Asia, I was stunned by how often ‘Prison Break’ is mentioned. In the end I think it all relates to the topic of ‘family’, this is the same in America. I think a lot of Asian content handle the subject of family in detail, how the characters form relationships and communicate with each other. This is the type of dramas that audiences want to watch at home.”

The CEO of Tomorrow Studios predicted that more IPs will be purchased and remade in the future. "These days, we are pursuing reliable success based on the popularity of the original work," he said. He is not only buying the Asian IPs to remake them into different content but he is also producing content that integrates different cultures and languages. An example is the dramatization of the novel ‘If I Had Your Face’ written by Korean-American author Francis Cha, which will be show with two languages spoken, Korean and English. He emphasized that globalization will continue, and the world will become more unified as the days pass. Therefore, the spine of the media industry lays in the content.

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