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[ALC] After the Pandemic: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Content & OTT


What is ALC? Asian Leadership Conference (ALC), is Korea’s premier international conference where global leaders coalesce to discuss and provide possible solutions for the pressing issues currently facing the world. Former speakers for ALC include Barack Obama, George Bush, David Cameron, Reed Hastings, Steve Chen and etc.


This year’s ALC will be held online under the theme of "World after Covid-19: Rebuilding Trust and Cooperation” Blintn, an online marketplace for production funding & distribution hosted the 4 media sessions, inviting world-class authorities in media industry as speakers.


Speakers

Marc Lorber / Senior Vice President of Lionsgate

Senior Vice President Marc Lorber was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002 for the TV drama 'Off Season' and established himself as a producer. He is in charge of the co-production and acquisition of overseas programs at Lionsgate, now known for its "Hunger Games" and "Twilight" series.


Dhruv Sinha / Asst Vice President of Reliance Entertainment Studios

Dhruv Sinha is the head of Reliance Entertainment Studios, an Indian media conglomerate. He is in charge of managing overseas businesses and marketing. Director Sinha has overseen marketing and distribution of more than 100 Hollywood films, including ‘Real Steel’, ‘Million Dollar Baby’, and ‘3 Idiots’.


Moderator

Peter Choe/ CEO of BLINTN

Peter Choe is the head of BLINTN and a lawyer, specialized in media entertainment. Blintn, a content production funding and distribution platform, established its branch in Beijing, China this year and is forging partnerships with various overseas production companies, OTT companies, and entertainment-related funds.



Session 1

“After the Pandemic: The Symbiotic Relationship Between OTT Platform & Content”


Q1. What impact did COVID-19 have on the media industry?

M: I think COVID-19 has a positive and negative effects on the media industry. I don't believe the earth is flat, but when I looked at the media industry's side, the earth appeared to be flat enough to indicate that content is swiftly moving over the globe. People noticed things they hadn't thought to see before and tried things they hadn't tried before because of the corona. Some of them have had a lot of success. People who previously only watched content in one language can now watch stuff from a variety of cultures. People are more culturally united than they have ever been. But when I saw the negative side, we speed up the polarization of the media industry is Corona. Producers and broadcasters with money and distribution power remained at the top and remained still in midst of the financial catastrophe, but mid- to small firms were forced to struggle. Some companies were able to enter niche sectors on a shoestring budget, but others were left behind. One thing is certain: content reigns supreme. The value of content and intellectual property will continue to rise.


D: Radio and print, which were formerly popular media, now have a one-fifth subscription rate. OTT subscribers, on the other hand, are experiencing a significant improvement. We are unable to create new content because filming is prohibited due to corona. Instead, it began airing reruns of previously aired classic series. As a result, the series, which first aired in 1992, has surpassed all expectations in terms of ratings and popularity. The COVID shut down all theaters and reduced capacity by half, yet we could see that demand for entertainment did not go away.


Q2. COVID has had a significant impact on the industry; is there a strategic movement to innovate in this situation? How can I make the most of this chance?

D: Because of the corona, we began to consider for whom the content developer is creating material. In reality, we believe that in the case of theatrical films, we need to cast well-known actors and producers to produce, but we don't need to do so for the OTT content. It's because, even if you're not a well-known actor, outstanding acting and compelling storytelling will draw a large audience. If the theaters return to normal in a few months or a year, OTT will be an extra import route.


M: Our industry is built on innovation. However, there were numerous issues with the pandemic lock-down scenario. We had to move with all the actors if we assume we're filming all across the country. However, due to the corona, we were unable to do so. In this circumstance, writers, actors, and directors had to adapt and adjust. The introduction of technology is one of them. The technical component was used before the pandemic, but the entry barrier was dropped in the post pandemic world. From the producer's point of view, before, he had to go to the set himself to see the filming site. But now, he can see the filming site through his smartphone anywhere. Of course, there were difficulties, but we adapted and changed by making safety agreements and so on in preparation for the worst situation. As a result, we were able to produce contents with the same quality as before the COVID has struck.


Q3. OTT is being serviced worldwide and accelerating the globalization of content. What content should we pay attention to?

M: First, it's a content that appeals to a variety of culture. But we have to realize that no content can satisfy everyone. If you try to satisfy various languages and cultures, it can be ruined. Many pieces of content have been successful despite their strong regional qualities. Engineers, authors, and directors from many countries have recently collaborated to create content that appeals to global audiences. As a result, each country's soft power is gaining more power. I'm also a media expert, but until five years ago, I didn't know anything about Indian or Korean films or actors. However, these boundaries are eroding, and people of all generations are absorbing the content of others with an open mind.


D: My 11-year-old nephew, who lives outside of Mumbai, India, was lately watching a BTS video and learning Korean. Accepting the culture of other countries enriches the culture of their own. Our company has purchased remake rights of Korean films, and we're in talks with China about doing the same. Culture is becoming more prevalent all across the world. In fact, I don't believe that content is created for all global audiences. Cross cultural awareness, however, is critical. Rather than creating content that pleases people all around the world, we should create content that is sensitive to the needs of each country. As a result, I believe that OTT also requires guidelines for cross cultural awareness.


Q4. How will OTT and contents affect each other?

M: For content developers, OTT provides a huge potential. It allows businesses to sell their content to as many sellers as possible. People who were forced to spend more time at home due to the shutdown started subscribing numerous OTTs, and the demand for content grew far quicker than expected. Of course, not every player in this business will succeed, but the key for success is the content. In the media field, I believe there will be more opportunities. Previously, for local content, only domestic viewers were the whole audience, but now OTT platforms enables them to be shown globally,


D: It's become increasingly impossible to guarantee the ticket power. No matter how well-known stars are or what was successful in the past, if they do not understand the tastes of sophisticated audiences, they may be neglected. One-star rated films created by major studios demonstrates this. OTT offers subtitles in a variety of languages. This enables viewers to watch a lot more content than the theater for the same price. As a result, people will be considerably more conscious of watching movies in theaters in the future. Therefore, it would be important for content creators to learn and analyze how people are consuming content and what they are watching on OTT platforms.



The 'Power of Content’ was the most heavily highlighted theme of this session. This is because content is the key to the rise of OTT subscribers as well as a way to reopen theaters that have been shut down due to the pandemic. We were able to realize that in order to respond to unpredictable changes such as Covid-19, we need good acting, stories, and technological adaptability, rather than a content that satisfies viewers in all countries.


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