The sales of South Korea’s content industry reached 110.4 trillion won (US$101.75 billion) this year. This is the similar level of memory chips, a major export item of the country. According to the 2017 edition of the McClean Report, the combined sales estimates of the semiconductor division of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix this year stood at 100.8 trillion won (US$92.9 billion).
At the conference for “South Korea’s Content Industry Wrap-up and Outlook” held at the COEX in Seoul on December 19, Song Jin, head of the industry analysis division at the Korea Creative Content Agency (Kocca), said, “The sales of the content industry in 2017 came to 110.4 trillion won (US$101.75 billion), up 4.5 percent from last year. The figure has grown 4.9 percent a year on average in the last five years. South Korea’s content industry has continued to grow after making a turning point by surpassing 100 trillion won (US$92.17 billion) of sales in 2016.”
By sector, the sales of publication amounted to 19.9 trillion won (US$18.34 billion), broadcast 17.8 trillion won (US$16.41 billion), knowledge information 15.2 trillion won (US$14.01 billion), advertisement 15.2 trillion won (US$14.01 billion), games 12.1 trillion won (US$11.15 billion), character products 11.9 trillion won (US$10.97 billion), films 5.9 trillion won (US$5.44 billion), music 5.8 trillion won (US$5.35 billion), content solutions 4.8 trillion won (US$4.42 billion), comics 1 trillion won (US$921.66 million) and animated films 700 billion won (US$645.16 million).
The content industry exported US$6.74 billion (7.31 trillion won) this year. It had difficulties in both exports and domestic demand this year. The average annual export growth rate in the past five years is 8.2 percent. The content industry showed a remarkable growth in exports to the global market, except for China, this year. The global sales of Line Friends’ intellectual property (IP) rights totaled 101 billion won (US$93.09 million). The domestic character brand expanded its business areas from young children to adults now.
Song said, “Due to China's “order of restriction on Hallyu,” the number of new South Korean games approved by the Chinese government was 0 from March to November. Also, there were 60 cases of damages from business in China that was reported to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.” He added that there was a mounting sense of crisis as the Chinese government continuously made a move to protect the local industry and the competitiveness of Chinese contents had strengthened.
The combined share of YouTube and Facebook in the domestic digital video ads market surged to 67 percent. Song said, “The monopoly by a small number of businesses is widening the gap further between conglomerates and small and mid-size companies in the content market.”
For games, the cumulative sales of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developed by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean publisher Bluehole, reached 200 million, making a hit in the global market. Song said, “Games that were designed to target the global market from the beginning, like “Black Desert,” put up a good show in North America, Europe and Japan, giving a stimulus to the market and the industry.”
Bangtan Boys (BTS), also known as Bulletproof Boy Scouts, continues to show their strong influence on social media by reaching 10 million followers on their official Twitter account in South Korea. Song said, “As the fan economic system works on a global basis, a new momentum for Hallyu has been created.”