According to content industry source including the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE) on September 6, South Korea’s content industry has been supporting the lower part of the national economy that is heavily dependent on exports. Despite the economic slump at home and aboard, the content industry, such as publication, cartoon, music, game, movie, animated film, broadcasting, advertisement, character, portal or other Internet information service and content solution, has shown growth in exports and revenues, and created new jobs.
South Korea, which was considered an information communication technology (ICT) industry power, is losing out to China in terms of hardware and to North America and Europe in terms of software. Under the current trend, the country should pay more attention to the content industry, according to experts. In particular, the government needs to come up with long-term policies that can promote Hallyu and expand ripple effects to other industries through contents instead of policy changes depending on the regime. In short, it should create the ecosystem that can continuously make money with contents.
According to the 2016 content industry data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), the domestic content industry had maintained its upward trend in sales for the last five years and recorded at 105.2 trillion won (US$93.09 billion), surpassing the 100 trillion won (US$88.49 billion) mark in 2016 for the first time.
The catch here is that sales of the content industry steadily increased 4.7 percent a year on average from 2012 to 2016 despite the economic slowdown at home and abroad. Particularly, the rate of content sales growth in 2016 stood at 5.3 percent, which was nearly two times higher than 2.7 percent of South Korea’s economic growth rate last year.
Above all, the domestic content industry plays a crucial role in the export market. Content exports reached US$6.31 billion (7.42 trillion won) last year, up 8.3 percent from the previous year. The figures showed an average annual growth rate of 8 percent for five years after 2011. This is in stark contrast to the fact that South Korea’s total exports dropped for two years in a row – 8 percent in 2015 and 5.9 percent in 2016.
According to the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE), the estimated exports of culture contents, consumer goods and tourism through Hallyu were US$7.85 billion (9 trillion won) in 2016, up 8.4 percent from the previous year. Hallyu created 18 trillion won (US$15.94 billion) worth of production, 7 trillion won (US$6.2 billion) worth of added value and 130,000 jobs. The figures went up by 10.5 percent, 12.5 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively. Hallyu culture contents, excluding consumer goods and tourism products, created 6 trillion won (US$5.31 billion) worth of production, 3 trillion won (US$2.66 billion) worth of added value and 56,000 jobs.
According to the data from the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), the estimated number of employees in the domestic content industry in 2016 was 620,000. About 17,000 new jobs had been created for five years between 2011 and 2015.