CJ E&M declares 2014 its first year as a global corporation.


CJ’s Entertainment & Media business (CJ E&M) has achieved considerable success in the global market. The comprehensive global media group recorded tangible results in overseas markets throughout 2013, giving it the momentum to push forward with the expansion of its overseas market presence with 2014 set as the starting point for its transformation into a global corporation. CJ E&M is targeting an increase in its overseas sales numbers to as much as 15 percent of total revenue. For this, it has laid out an ambitious plan for co-production, planning and investment across a variety of contents, including movies, media and performance, aiming to produce a second ‘Snow Piercer’ or ‘Super Star China.’ Whats more, it will continue to seek to export successful formats.

CJ E&M has worked to successfully promote Korean cultural contents worldwide by continuing to bolster its presence in overseas markets. 2013 was a bumper year for the company, marking its ascension as a truly global corporation through the huge success it achieved internationally with a range of movies, media and various other contents. The international release of ‘Snow Piercer’, which attracted 9.34 million people in Korea when premiered in August 2013, was not just about a Korean director or actor rising to prominence overseas. The movie was a global project targeted a global audience with core engines such as screenplay, directing, producing and investment/distribution, all originating in Korea. Such was the excitement for this movie that the trailer alone was enough to sell the rights to the movie to 167 countries ahead of its release. ‘Snow Piercer’ set a new Korean movie industry record for the number of countries involved in its release and the amount of exports generated. The movie trounced the previous audience record of Painted Fire by 100%, attracting 650,000 viewers during October in France alone, the country from which the original story came. ‘Snow Piercer’ was also released in Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Thailand and will open to audiences in Japan and North America this year.

This success was followed up with CJ E&Ms work on the planning, development and investment in the movie ‘A Wedding Invitation’ for release in China. The movie localized the universal genre of romantic comedy successfully and changed the formula to enter into a foreign market. ‘A Wedding Invitation’ was released in China in April 2013 and within two days had already recouped its 30M RMB production costs (equivalent to roughly 5.4B KRW), going on to set a box office record of 200M RMB (equivalent to 37B KRW) over the next five weeks. This marks a record high for a movie jointly produced in Korea and China, placing it in 8th place amongst romantic comedies released in China (as of May 2013).

The project marked the culminated of more than three years of market research. CJ E&M forged a partnership with the largest Chinese national distributor China Film Group (CFG) for distribution in order to strengthen the local network. CFG ensured a wide release for the movie in China. To drive home the advantages of joint production between Korea and China, ‘A Wedding Invitation’ took on board analysis of Chinese movie-goers tastes. The movie starts and continues as a romantic comedy, concluding as a Korean-style love story that cannot but fail to win over the audience. Director Oh Ki-Hwan, who has shown his flair at making Korean-style love stories and romantic comedies with movies such as ‘Last Present’ (2001) and ‘The Art of Seduction’ (2005) participated in ‘A Wedding Invitation’, along with a whole team of skillful Korean staff (Director of Photography Kim Young-Ho, Lighting Director Hwang Soo-Wook, Music Director Lee Ji-Soo, Editor Shin Min-Kyung). They worked to ensure quality was not compromised in the movie, with production standards upheld to meet the high criteria of Chinese movie-goers.

‘Super Star K’, the legendary audition program that hit Korea with the refreshing concept of survival-to-win, has proved to be amazingly popular in China. ‘Super Star China’ was first aired on July 7, 2013, as a Chinese version of Super Star K. Hubei Satellite TV, the largest broadcasting company with 800 million-viewer coverage in China, purchased the format of CJ E&M’s Superstar K and produced the program. The first show of ‘Super Star China’ easily surpassed 1 percent of viewer ratings, which is regarded as a popular program in China, setting a record high of 1.8 percent. The final round of competition of the program achieved the highest viewer ratings of any show broadcasted within the same time slot, showing itself to be a winning formula. The producer of Mnet Super Star K participated in the production of Super Star China as a Flying Producer. Whats more, the producers and staff at CJ E&M in China were unstinting in their support on producing the program, which was made in Woohan. As a result, CJ E&M China has now established a favorable relationship with Chinese local broadcasting companies and is seeking to expand joint production.

Meanwhile, ‘Finding Mr. Destiny’, long familiar to Korean audiences as both a musical and a movie, has become the first Korean creative musical to enter into a license contract with China and be performed on a Chinese stage. The musical became the first creative musical to be performed in three Asian countries: Korea, China and Japan. Indeed, it has evolved into the leading musical of Hallyu, penetrating the One Asia Market.

Ajuyeonchang (Shanghai) Culture Development Corporation, which has been leading the Chinese musical industry with ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Cats’, produced ‘Finding the First Love’, the Chinese version of ‘Finding Mr. Destiny at Shanghai Murahwa theater (a size of 300 seats), receiving a positive response from the Chinese audience. It was noticeable that the Chinese actors played the role of Kim Jong-Wook, the woman, and the Multi Man, in the licensed performance, while retaining the format of a small stage for a trialogue, the music and the plot of the original musical. There were few changes made to be attuned to local sentiment. The Korean actors of ‘Finding Mr. Destiny’ performed on ‘Amuse Musical Theater’ which is a theater exclusive to Korean musicals in Roppongi, Tokyo, last November, impressing the audience with the Korean creative musical.

In addition, ‘Kinky Boots’, the hit Broadway musical that CJ E&M co-produced, has yielded a great success at the 67th Tony Awards at Radio City Hall on June 9 by winning in six categories for Best Play, Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Actor, Best Instrumental Arrangement, and Best Sound Designer. The new musical ‘Kinky Boots’ has opened to rave reviews since its opening on Broadway on April 4, 2013, maintaining average ticket sales of 100.7 percent. It was unusual for a Broadway musical to have CJ E&M involved as a Korean co-producer right from the planning stage. The musical will meet Korean audiences at Choongmu Art Hall this coming November.

‘K-CON 2013’ was a large-scale convention of Korean culture which took place at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in LA on August 2013. The event was a showcase for CJ and its ambitions for the global media and entertainment industry.

Over 200,000 Americans visited the two-day event, which combined K-POP concerts and a food, fashin and beauty convention, as well as showcasing the latest in advanced motoring and IT. Visitors had the chance to meet Korean pop singers such as G-Dragon, EXO, f(x), Dynamic Duo, Crayon Pop, and Yoo Seung-Woo. Whats more, they were able to enjoy Korean culture in booths where visitors could experience a range of ‘K-Culture’, including movies, TV drama, food, fashion and beauty.

Moreover, there were promotional booths at the event from 75 participating companies, including the sponsor of ‘K-CON 2013’ Asiana Airlines, the US largest telecommunication corporation Verizon, Hyundai Motors, Nongsim, SM Entertainment, bibigo, CGV and other Korean small and medium-sized companies which wished to enter overseas markets. The convention was seen as contributing signficantly to the global creative economy as well as promoting Korean culture by leading the commercialization of Hallyu culture and enhancing the national brand. The event established a foothold for Korean companies to enter overseas markets.

2013 MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards) took place on November 22, 2013 at Hong-Kong Asia World Expo Arena (AWE). Under the banner of One-Asia “Music Makes One, Disseminate the Asian Music Market to the World”, 2013 MAMA presented a magnificent music festival to 2.4 billion people across 94 countries around the world and featured famous Korean and global artists, including ‘the legendary pop artist’ Stevie Wonder. The festival was Asia’s best arena for K-Pop to go global, driving the continuous expansion of Hallyu. Sponsorship from multinational corporations for the event saw a four-fold increase when compared to that of the previous year, testament to the way the event is seen as offering a new concept in global marketing. Considering direct and indirect promotional and marketing effects and economic inductive effects for the related industry, MAMA was estimated to induce about 300 billion won of economic effect.

CJ E&M plans to speed up its global business by developing diverse global entry strategies and reinforcing its capability for quality contents based on the success it has enjoyed in overseas markets.

CJ E&M earned 113.4 billion won in overseas sales in 2011, the year in which it kicked off as a corporation across a consolidated range of business sectors, including media, movies, music/performance and games. In 2011, global sales accounted for just 8.86 percent of total sales. The company made 176 billion won of overseas sales in 2012 and 154.3 billion won by Q3 of 2013, by which time global sales accounted for 12.5 percent of total sales. CJ E&Ms global sales have consistently risen such that their target for 2014 is to reach 15 percent of total sales, which will signal a full-throttle increase on its journey to a global cultural contents corporation.

To this end, CJ E&M is seeking to mount a full-scale assault on the global market next year through co-production, co-planning/investment with diverse countries.

In terms of the movie sector, CJ E&M plans to team up with an American production unit to co-produce ‘Make Your Move’ and to produce the English movie ‘Final Recipe’ and the English animation ‘Dino Time’ for release on the global market. The company is planning a Korea-China Joint Project to produce three movies: Pyungan-do, Martial Art, and Love and Lingerie. It also plans to show the first Korea-Vietnam Joint Project ‘De Hoi Tinh (Hoi will decide).’ The moves of CJ E&M have continued to attract considerable interest as the world waits to see which project will follow in the footsteps of ‘Snow Piercer’ and ‘A Wedding Invitation’ by becoming the next global phenomenon.

In terms of the media sector, CJ E&M is set to enter the global market by exporting program formats and co-producing with foreign broadcasting companies.

The Chinese version of TvN’s ‘Grandpa over Flowers’ is expected to be particularly popular among Chinese viewers, following the success of ‘Super Star China’ last year. ‘Grandpa over Flowers’ is a reality show in which the younger actor Lee Seo-Jin travels Europe and Taiwan with older actors like Lee Soon-Jae, Shin Goo, Park Geun-Hyung and Baik Il-Seob and is treated almost as a porter by the senior actors. The show has already gained a huge following in Korea. Currently, a leading Chinese satellite broadcasting company is in negotiation to license it. A source from CJ E&M said, “The Chinese media anticipates that ‘Grandpa over Flowers’ will be appealing to Chinese viewers because it is not only entertaining, but also shows communication across the generations, as well as highlighting new types of leisure and consumption activities for the middle aged and the elderly.”

TvN’s drama ‘Nine’ is considered to be the best TV show in the first half of 2013 in Korea. The format of the TV show was sold to the US and work is ongoing for a pilot.

CJ E&M plans to position itself as the leading media corporation of Southeast Asia by co-producing a TV show with the largest Vietnamese national broadcasting company VTV. CJ E&M will co-produce with VTV a TV show that targets young Vietnamese viewers. The show that will describe stories of Korean and Vietnamese students who study in Vietnam and Korea respectfully and will be aired at VTV3, an entertainment channel with the highest viewer ratings of any VTV channel.

Moreover, CJ E&M will upgrade the Hallyu contents for ‘KCON 2014’ to strengthen its position in the US and in North America. Alongside this, the company plans to reinforce its global projects, particularly the quarterly ‘Global M Countdown’ and the global music awards ‘MAMA’. The company will enhance the quality of its contents for the performance sector to accelerate its global expansion, following its success in securing a foothold in the market last year.

CJ E&M also plans for the Japanese market. The company plans to set up a limited partnership with a Japanese company that has a strong marketing capability in order to localize events and contents. CJ E&M will extend the business of Ajuyeonchang (Shanghai) Culture Development Corporation, which is a joint stock partnership between the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and CJ E&M responsible for producing licensed musicals including ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Cats’. CJ E&M also plans to open different sized-theaters in Beijing and Shanghai where a movie based on Korean contents will be played. CJ E&M co-produced several English musicals such as ‘Kinky Boots’, ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Let it be’ in 2013. Of particular note, ‘Kinky Boots’ won Best Musical at Tony Awards. CJ E&M plans to work with globally-famous creators to develop contents that can be a hit not only in the British and American markets, but also in the Asian market.

CJ E&M said, “CJ E&M has continued to carry out global business for cultural growth and the enhancement of national status in line with our founding principle of ‘Business Patriotism’, as encapsulated in the business philosophy of Chairman Lee Jae-Hyun. 2014 marks the first year in which we transform into a global cultural contents corporation. We seek to set best practice for new Hallyu contents based on our success and knowhow. We will contribute to expanding Hallyu by increasing our global sales to 30 percent in the mid and long term.”