The Korean Entertainment whopper CJ ENM Produces Content For All Audiences

The Korean Entertainment whopper CJ ENM Produces Content For All Audiences

The Korean Entertainment Giant CJ ENM Produces Content For All Audiences

CJ ENM creates a wide range of stories with cultural sensitivity and originality for the global content industry.This story was created in paid partnership with CJ ENM
The Cannes entry Broker represents one of the more cu-rious collaborations in this year’s competition lineup. The film is directed by revered Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda, but the entire cast is Korean and the action takes place in modern-day Seoul. While it’s yet to be revealed why Kore-eda chose to set his latest drama in Korea, the decision by Korean entertainment giant CJ ENM to distribute the film is far less opaque.

“We decided to participate, thinking that by utilizing CJ’s experience in the global market we could help promote an interesting project – ‘a Korean film made by a Japanese master,’ ” says Jerry Ko, head of the international film busi-ness division at CJ ENM.

Related Stories
Cannes Diary: Why Tom Cruise Is Our Biggest — and Most Elusive — Movie Star
Cannes: Internet Outage Hits Seaside City Mid-Festival
Broker isn’t the only CJ film in this year’s competition. Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave, starring Tang Wei, will also compete for the Palme d’Or, marking the latest coup by CJ after Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite took home the fest’s top honor three years ago. Well before the success of Parasite, CJ had established a reputation for championing daring, boundary-pushing directors who had not yet achieved main-stream success – including Bong and Park, both of whom found a home at CJ early in their careers with titles like 2009’s Mother and 2000’s Joint Security Area, respectively.
“Ever since CJ started its culture business in the mid-1990s, it has continued to invest in creating an ecosystem that allows the market to produce high-quality content,” says Ko, who oversees the company’s global strategy. “While discovering talented creators and continuously supporting their work, we pushed our business forward in the direction of revitalizing the market by creating a healthy cycle in which the demand and supply could expand both in quality and in number. Although we may not have achieved short-term gains, in the long term CJ and Korean content managed to establish a foundation for global competitiveness. Films like Parasite are the fruit of those efforts.”
Indeed, CJ ENM’s presence as a global film behemoth is the result of a years-long mission to expand and diversify. Just in the past few years, the company has undergone a visible transformation. In November 2021, the company an-nounced it had acquired an 80 percent stake of the scripted business of Endeavor Content for $785 million. That acqui-sition was the company’s largest since investing in Dream-Works SKG in 1995, and the partnership is expected to serve as a gateway for Asian artists, writers and directors to en-ter the global market. And in December of the same year, the company also entered into a strategic partnership with Paramount Global, in a worldwide deal that includes co-productions for original series and films, content licensing and distribution through streaming services. The two companies will co-finance an original series, the sci-fi drama Yonder from veteran Korean director Lee Joonik, which is set to be released on TVING, the company’s streaming service, and Paramount+ globally.

And that’s not the company’s only connection to Hollywood. In addition to the TV adaptation of Bong’s 2013 hit Snowpiercer on TNT, CJ is currently co-producing more than 10 other projects, including an English-language remake of the hit film Miss Granny that has already been produced and released in eight countries/regions; Extreme Job, a comedy being produced with Universal Pictures; a U.S adaptation of the hit Korean drama series Hotel Del Luna, with David Ellison’s Skydance; the original U.S series The Big Door Prize for Apple TV+; and HBO’s upcoming adaptation of Parasite. Elsewhere, CJ’s music show I Can See Your Voice has been broadcast or remade in more than 23 markets.
In short, CJ has managed to help take Korean content mainstream in the U.S. – no small feat considering the language barrier and potentially daunting cultural differences.
“In Asia, especially Southeast Asia, actors’ name value or local response of dramas and films among the Korean audience are almost thoroughly delivered as they are,” says Senior VP of content business Seo Jang-ho. “In the U.S., however, there was only a niche market for teenage fans of K-pop and romantic comedy. But now, with the success of Parasite and Squid Game through Netflix, the scope of popular Korean content has expanded, making the fanbase much wider.”
Locally, the company is strengthening its own production line by acquiring some of the country’s leading production companies, including Moho Film, founded by Park, and JK Film, founded by director JK Youn, best known for domestic blockbusters like 2014’s Ode to My Father and 2009’s Tidal Wave. It also announced a plan to launch a new production studio, CJ ENM STUDIOS, which will focus on producing content for global streaming services. The studio is an addition to its existing production powerhouse Studio Dragon, which already is responsible for more than 40 percent of domestic broadcasting content exported overseas with local hits like Crash Landing on You, one of the highest-rated local TV shows of all time, and It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, both of which were acquired by Netflix.

“With the addition of CJ ENM STUDIOS, the company plans to establish a strong multi-studio structure that will strengthen its global content production capacity and global competitiveness, especially at a time when K-content is in high demand,” says an official within CJ ENM. “Each studio will have its area of expertise.”
One of the company’s latest successes is TVING, a global streaming platform to export content. The company’s partnership with Paramount Global to co-finance the platform’s original series Yonder is an example. Through the partnership, Paramount+ will also make its first entry into the Asian market through TVING.
With so much co-production activity, it would be easy to assume that CJ is approaching the limit on how much expansion it can pursue, but Seo argues that, as long as Korean content continues to be popular around the world, there are plenty of opportunities still on the horizon.
“I think there will be many of these multicultural projects in the days to come,” he says. “To that extent, we’re really seeing that the borders of content are diminishing, and I feel that the quality and value of the work itself has become much more important than in the past.”


Leave your comment