We would like to thank all those who braved the bad weather, public transportation issues and the need to vote for the EU referendum to come to our 2nd panel talk dedicated to Korean scripted formats.
Despite all the above and some technical issues, we managed to have all our speakers in one place to discuss the specificities of their markets, discuss comparisons with the UK and US markets and exchange with the audience on how they go about finding relevant formats for Italy or Turkey, producing and making sure they perform well enough to be renewed.
Alessia Gambaro of Endemol Shine Italy started with her presentation, giving a context of the Italian broadcasting industry, with the four leading TV companies investing in original scripted dramas: RAI, Mediaset, Sky Italia and the possible newcomer Discovery Italia. From there, she took examples of international scripted formats adapted for RAI’s flagship channel RAI Uno and Mediaset’s two top performing channels Canale 5 and Italia 1. She eventually came to the interesting case study of tvN’s Korean revenge drama Ice Adonis being adapted for a leading Italian channel, a deal she made possible by scouting the TV markets. This choice as many other scripted formats adaptations (in particular telenovelas) was especially driven by the idea melodramas are extremely popular in Italy. This in some way raises cultural similarities between the two countries – Italy and South Korea – making Korean scripted formats especially attractive.
Followed from there the presentation of Endemol Shine Turkey’s Nilufer Kuyel. After taking us through the economics of the Turkish TV market, and in particular emphasing it is driven by scripted productions (which bears strong similarities with South Korea!), she gave us a fascinating overview of the TV series remakes. In this overview, it came clear that over the past 2 years, there has been as many as half the amount of scripted adaptations as in the previous 10 years (2004-2014)! Another amazing fact is Korean dramas rank number one, ahead of the U.S., for inspirations and remakes. Not surprising then that it’s Paramparça (aka Broken Pieces), a TV series loosely inspired from Autumn in My Heart which started the frenzy of scripted adaptations as it ranked top in the ratings. Endemol Shine ranks first in terms of volume of productions and has already completed its second (or shall we say first official) remake of a Korean drama, with Kış Güneşi (aka Winter Sun) airing on Show TV earlier this year.
The following discussing was all the more interesting as topics such as the voluntary availability of these Turkish dramas on YouTube (vs. Korean broadcasters deciding to remove their own dramas), the rapid rise of Turkey as leading exporter of TV dramas which actually fed the need for scripted formats, and most importantly that, despite mainstream thought, the most successful formats didn’t come necessarily from the most widely seen and popular shows, but on the contrary, more niche, darker (and sometimes gritty) dramas were most likely appealing to both of these buyers. Ice Adonis was indeed a cable TV drama series (CJ E&M’s flagship channel tvN).
After a little more than one hour of discussion, audience members were invited to watch episode 1 of Winter Sun, and at the end of the event, three lucky winners were awarded DVD box sets generously offered by KOFICE.