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Upcoming Conference Ponders The Global Success Of K-Entertainment

During the last decade Korean media has made a dramatic impression on the global entertainment market. With content such as the film Parasite, TV shows such as Squid Game and k-pop groups, particularly BTS, k-media has acquired fans around the world. But such success does prompt a question or two. Is the popularity of k-media a temporary phenomenon or will it shape the entertainment industry for decades to come? An upcoming conference will examine the past and potential future of the Hallyu or Korean Wave, incorporating academic research with insider insights into the current market, and offering information on AI that might potentially help enhance the global reach of k-content.

The Global K Entertainment Technology Summit will take place on Oct. 20 at the LA Wavve American Conference Room in Los Angeles and also stream live on YouTube. The event is hosted by Indiana University’s Institute for Korean Studies, Pukyong National University in Busan and DirectMediaLab, a news media outlet and lab specializing in entertainment technology, based in Korea and the U.S. The program will be introduced by Seung Kyung Kim, director of the Institute for Korean Studies, Junghwan Kim, a professor at Pukyong University and Junghoon Han, CEO of DirectMediaLab.

The first part of the program will feature CedarBough T. Saeji, an assistant professor of Korean and East Asian studies at Busan University; Darcy Paquet a film critic, author and translator (Parasite), who teaches at the Busan Asian Film School; Pil Ho Kim, an associate professor of Korean at Ohio State University, specializing in Korean pop music and cinema; and Jae Hyon Park, a Wesleyan University professor, who specializes in modern and contemporary Korean literature, media, and cinema.

According to Han, a former reporter for the Korean television network JTBC, the academic research will offer insight into the cultural influence of the Hallyu and also its interaction with the latest technology. Everything Korean may be trending now, but will it last? How k-content has succeeded in the past may offer lessons for the future.

“Right now it is big, but after 10 or 20 years will viewers still be interested,” asked Han. “Entertainment from Hong Kong was big in the 80s but now not so much. Through research maybe we can improve on this.”

The next part of the presentation will feature talks by Kunhee Park, CEO of Wavve America: Hsiwen Lin, leader of the entertainment and multicultural team at Google
; Joonseok Lee, vice-president of OnDemandKorea, Taehyun Kim, vice president of Pozalabs, a Seoul-based AI music generation startup; Gaetan Edo Von Muralt, founder and CCO of SWIM, which makes and services digital influencers; and Visang Education, which aims to launch a Korean language education program using Korean content in the U.S.

Technology has accelerated the reach of the Korean Wave and as it continues to evolve will also affect its future potential. Conference topics will explore the state of streaming and the trending nature of Korean content, as well as the role played by Asian American communities in supporting this trend. Pozalabs will discuss how AI-generated music might better enable some Korean dramas to go global.

“Copyright for intellectual properties is often a little bit complicated,” said Han. “So some Korean TV shows really want to expand abroad, but sometimes they cannot solve music copyright questions. It’s a focus on the solution.”

After these presentations, a panel of representatives from Korea’s terrestrial television stations MBC, SBS and KBS, will discuss the state of the industry and the ideal conditions for its continued success. Han plans to report the summit’s findings on his site, which features articles in Korean and English. He hopes that DirectMediaLab will serve as an industry platform on which t0 discuss relevant topics.

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