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  • “We plan to go crazy for rock music, and through that, convey our sincerity.”

    “We plan to go crazy for rock music, and through that, convey our sincerity.”
    By reporter Kim Ji-hyun, Money Today Network, jihyunsports@mtn.co.kr
    Rock band Wetter

    “We wanted people to listen to our music and get drenched wet with emotion, so we named the group Wetter.” The members of Wetter hope to truly connect with fans through their straightforward lyrics.

    By reporter Kim Ji-hyun, Money Today Network, jihyunsports@mtn.co.kr

    “Being good with the chopsticks won’t make me eat; no matter how good I am. I don’t eat much.

    Breaking prejudice will lead to the creation of another one…”

    Lyrics from Wetter’s “Ggondae”

    “Ggondae” is a single that was released by the rock band Wetter in April of this year. Wetter's music is straightforward, as evidenced by its song titles and lyrics. This straightforward attitude can also be seen in the introduction the band wrote for the release of the “Ggondae” single album.

    “This is dedicated to those old folks who want to cut off others in their cowardliness, ignoring the values and beliefs of others. If you say that this is wrong, if you start crying to us about us being immature, then this is dedicated to all of you too.”

    The members of Wetter, influenced by British rock, have no fear when it comes to singing what is in their hearts. Throughout the interview, they showed a stubborn pursuit of their own style of music and a commitment to expressing themselves with complete sincerity.

    Wet and Wetter

    Literally translated from English, the band’s name means “a person who makes you wet.” Lead Vocalist, Choi Won-bin explained the band’s name, saying, “At a festival, I saw all of these sweaty people in the crowd, enjoying the music they were listening to. I want people to listen to our music and get wet with emotion, so I chose the name ‘Wetter’ for our band.”

    Wetter’s honesty is what stirs the emotions of its fans. The band’s songs feature many straightforward lyrics.

    There are also a lot of songs that talk about the band members’ feelings and their feelings of loss while creating music.

    Wetter is as honest with itself as it is with its music. Choi commented, “There is a standard in Korea’s music market. If you deviate a little from this standard, it is not easy to gain fans.” This remark was about the censorship that is well and alive within the Korean music market. In fact, the single, “Ggondae” was actually scheduled to be released last year. However, the band had a disagreement with its former agency about the release of the song. Wetter eventually left the agency and released the song themselves. Wetter is currently looking for a new agency that understands who they are as a band.

    How Wetter Began

    How was such a unique rock band formed? Wetter began when leader Choi Won-bin tried to recruit Jung Ji-hoon, a fellow high school alumnus, in 2014. At the time, Choi was active as a musician, but Jung was a bit distant, choosing to focus on his studies. Fortunately, the two were both interested in movies and fashion, and had similar musical tastes.

    Choi finally succeeded in recruiting Jung as a member after four years of trying. Choi also recruited Heo Jin-hyuk as the band’s drummer. “I had to get him [Heo] to join the band since he reminds me of Ringo Starr," Choi said.

    Choi met guitarist Chae Ji-ho by chance at Wetter’s former agency. Originally, the band had three members plus a different guitarist, who had to leave the band to complete his required military service. Without a guitarist, the band was in danger of breaking up; however, as luck would have it, the band members met Chae, who was a guitarist at their former agency. After meeting Chae, Wetter had four members. In November 2016, Wetter released its single, “WHO” and made its official debut.

    Wetter's debut song, “WHO,” received a warm reception soon after its release. Wetter sold out performances at major Hongdae clubs, including Club FF. The band was then featured on the soundtrack of the popular web drama, “Yellow,” in 2017, helping cement the band’s newfound fame.

    “We Want to Be Remembered as an Authentic Rock Band.”

    Wetter is an authentic rock band influenced by British rock. Nowadays, fusion music, which incorporates a variety of genres of music based on rock, is gaining popularity.” Wetter, however, pursues greater authenticity. The band said that they hope their fans will remember them as a true rock band. “We hope the public recognizes us clearly and distinctively as a rock band. There are many genres under the rock umbrella, and we want to be the band that explores them all,” Choi remarked.

    Indeed, Wetter's music maintains a classic rock sound, while the melody follows the latest trends. This makes it easy for people who are unfamiliar or inexperienced with rock to enjoy their music. Wetter is a fascinating group that preserves the colorful characteristics of rock while continuing to evolve.

    Another selling point of Wetter is the band members’ appearances. When asked what Wetter’s charm is, Choi confidently replied, "All of us are handsome." He added, “We tend to care a lot about how we look. It could be an edge that we have over other groups." Wetter members put a lot of effort into fashion for photos and album jackets, as well as for their live shows at festivals and clubs.

    Muzik and Stealer products have a strong design philosophy. ⓒMuzik

    They have worked with model Park Hee-soo to perfect their style. Wetter is outfitted by VU, a brand owned by Park Hee-soo.

    Entering the Global Rock Scene

    With the support of the Korea Creative Content Agency, Wetter traveled to the UK for 23 days. There, they performed a joint concert with the British band Wooze and got an even better feel for the British style of rock that has so heavily influenced their band.

    Bassist Jung Ji-hoon said, “Rock is not a popular genre here in Korea, and I was worried that it would be similar in the UK. But when I actually went there, I felt that at least over there, rock will never lose its popularity.” He added, “Going on this tour of the UK gave me more motivation to keep playing the music I am passionate about, rather than just trying to be popular. I know that I should keep pursuing British rock.”.

    Drummer Heo Jin-hyuk said frankly, “Every time I work on music, I am obsessed with having to always be perfect. But since going to the UK, I've learned that pursuing what we are interested in can lead to great music.” Guitarist Chae Ji-ho chimed in saying, "The UK enjoys freedom of expression. From now on, when we make music, I want to focus not on self-censorship and trying to meet some standard, but on freely expressing ourselves.” Vocalist Choi Won-bin further emphasized, "We have been inspired by this journey of introducing our music to the world.”

    Wetter hopes that, in the future, the Korean rock scene will see new growth. Jung commented, saying, “I hope that rock bands are given more exposure through the media, so that they have more of a chance to show the public what rock music and rock bands are all about.” He continued, "We will continue to work hard and take every opportunity to meet with the media and the public."

    Wetter hopes that their audiences will find their music to be sincere. Choi, remarked, “I would like our fans to know that Wetter is not simply trying to make money off of music. We are crazy about rock, and we love rock music.” He also emphasized that, “Our band should feel authentically cool, and for that to happen, we’ll have to make more appealing music in the future.”

    INTERVIEW
    What’s your favorite song?

    Choi Won-bin: “Ggondae.”

    Heo Jin-hyuk: “Ggondae.”

    Jung Ji-hoon: “Where is My Everything?”

    Chae Ji-ho: “The Other Way.”

    What song do you want people to know about?

    Choi Won-bin: “I Don't Wanna be a Doll.”

    Heo Jin-hyuk: “Ggondae.”

    Jung Ji-hoon: “WHO”.

    Chae Ji-ho: “I Don't Wanna be a Doll.”

    What was the hardest song to make?

    Choi Won-bin: None of them. Maybe it’ll be the next song we make.

    Heo Jin-hyuk: “Don’t Make Me Dance.”

    Jung Ji-hoon: “Coffee & Diamond.”

    Chae Ji-ho: All the songs from the first mini-album

    What was the song that was the quickest and easiest to make?

    Choi Won-bin: “You.”

    Heo Jin-hyuk: “You.”

    Jung Ji-hoon: “You.”

    Chae Ji-ho: “Lucy.”

    Who is your favorite artist?

    Choi Won-bin: Most recently, it’s C Jamm. I was inspired by his album that was released in May.

    Heo Jin-hyuk: Viagra Boys. Jung Ji-hoon: Oasis.

    Chae Ji-ho: No one.

    Besides music, what are your interests?

    Choi Won-bin: Taking care of my health. If you take your vitamins, it’s great for your body.

    Heo Jin-hyuk: Food. I love eating good food. It makes me happy.

    Jung Ji-hoon: I like gaming and movies.

    Chae Ji-ho: I like drinking.

    Anything else you’d like to tell your fans?

    Choi Won-bin: Please take your vitamins.

    Heo Jin-hyuk: Please listen to a lot of Wetter songs.

    Jung Ji-hoon: Please send us your love.

    Chae Ji-ho: Stay strong. Go Wetter!

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-10-10 View : 21
  • Muzik and Stealer: Pioneering New Directions for Hallyu with Eyewear

    Muzik and Stealer: Pioneering New Directions for Hallyu with Eyewear

    Eyewear, which was once used solely to correct vision problems, has recently become a hot fashion item. Fashionistas use square frames to convey an intellectual image, or wear round frames to make themselves look young or cute. Eyewear is a niche that emerged after glasses gained acceptance and popularity as a fashion statement.

    By reporter Kim Tae-hwan, Money Today Network, kimthin@mtn.co.kr

    The market research firm IMARC predicts that the global market for eyewear will reach $170 billion by 2022. In addition, it forecasts a growth rate (CAGR) of 8% from 2017 to 2022.

    Muzik and Stealer Emphasize Unique Designs

    The Muzik Creative Label (Muzik and Stealer) is a popular Korean brand in the eyewear market. The company has launched two eyewear brands, Muzik and Stealer, both of which are doing well. Muzik is a popular brand designed to be as accessible and trendy as listening to music. The brand also collaborates with various artists and writers. Stealer is an eyewear brand that uses metal materials such as titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, and beta steel to create freeing and unique designs. In general, the sales department of a house brand represents the largest part its management and adopts a sales strategy that focuses heavily on product sales and supply. Muzik and Stealer, however, have branding teams that are larger than their sales teams and seek to establish brand identity, as well as large design teams that work to increase product value. Rather than supplying similar types of glasses in bulk, priority is given to branding and designing at a smaller scale in order to maintain consistency and brand identity.

    The idea of consistency and brand identity goes beyond product design and extends to packaging, brand-specific colors, fonts, images, and seasonal images that are all organized and produced in a unified manner. As a result of its keen attention to brand details, Stealer is gaining recognition as a brand that is equal to foreign high-end brands. Muzik and Stealer explain that it is important to take advantage of the special “cold feeling” of metal in order to create an understated image.

    Moving to Korea to Produce Horn-Rimmed Metal Frames

    Muzik and Stealer have received several awards for their efforts and achievements in design. Some of these awards include the IF Design Award, one of the world's top three designer awards, and Italy’s A’Design Award, not to mention Korea’s K-Design Award.

    Muzik and Stealer have been making products with the global market in mind ever since their launch in 2013. At first, they made their horn-rimmed frames in France. At the time, horn-rimmed frames were a global trend.

    However, not long after, they began to mix their new horn-rimmed frames with metal; this mixed metal style began to gain in popularity. However, there were few factories in France that could mix and process metal on the horn material. After much deliberation, Muzik and Stealer decided to move to South Korea.

    In 2014, with the launch of Stealer’s metal frames, Muzik and Stealer became household names. In Korea at that time, when it came to eyewear, there were very few brands in the entire fashion sector that dealt only with metals. Stealer’s lighter and more comfortable metal frame added a sensory element to eyeglass design, and the Musk and Stealer brands continued to gain in popularity.

    Product made in collaboration with singer Naul. Ⓒ MUSIC

    A Favorite of Celebrities

    Stealer did not actively seek any kind of celebrity marketing or endorsement. Nevertheless, celebrities heard about the brand and began to wear their frames. Such celebrities include Girls' Generation’s Taeyeon and Sooyoung, G-Dragon, Giant, Yoo Jae-suk, Jung Jae-hyung, Son Dam-bi, Boa, and actors Jung Kyung-ho and Namgoong Min. BTS band members have also recently been spotted wearing Stealer products.

    Eyewear companies often face many difficulties when entering overseas markets due to differences in face shape between Asians and Westerners. Muzik and Stealer produce marketing materials that show how well suited their products are to European and American faces. Every season, the studio holds a photo shoot featuring fashion influencers and members of the general public at a photo studio in Milan, Italy.

    Thanks to these and other efforts, the brands have been well-established in Asia, in places such as Thailand, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan as well as in the West. In Asian countries, the brands use showrooms and pop-up stores as part of their sales strategies. Muzik and Stealer are also gaining popularity in Japan, which is known for having high barriers to market entry.

    Muzik and Stealer products have a strong design philosophy. ⓒMuzik

    Osaka Hankyu Department Store, which recorded the second-highest sales among all department stores in Japan last year, operated its first Korean eyewear pop-up store for two months. Since Japan has such high-quality domestic house eyewear brands, the mere entry of Muzik and Stealer into Japan is a tremendous achievement.

    KOCCA Helps Brands Position Themselves on the World Stage

    Muzik and Stealer credit the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) with helping them expand overseas through the 2019 Overseas Exhibition Support Project.

    Participation in brand shows is very important in the fashion industry. In order to receive orders, companies must go abroad to showcase their brands. The biggest event in the eyewear sector is the Silmo Show held in Paris, France. However, since this is the largest eyewear show in the world, participation costs are considerably high. Renting a booth costs upwards of tens of millions of won. The cost of decorating a booth is a huge burden for relatively small eyewear brands.

    Kim Jun-ho, head of Muzik and Stealer’s strategic planning team explained, “Even if it [a show] costs a lot, the problem is solved if an order is secured. But it’s hard to be so confident that we’ll have such good results. We decided that it would be too much of a financial burden to participate [in the show] at our own expense, so we applied for the overseas support project operated by KOCCA.” Thanks to KOCCA’s support, Muzik and Stealer were able to obtain a large booth at the center of the Silmo Show, rather than being stuck in the corner.

    Kim added, “At the overseas shows, there are also famous global brands and leading fashion companies, so you can meet more potential buyers. It reflects well on our brands just to be setting up in the same vicinity.”

    INTERVIEW
    Leading the Eyewear Market, Originality Captures the Eyes of Fashionistas

    Kim Jun-ho, Head of Strategic Planning

    How were Muzik and Stealer born?

    The brands were launched in October 2013 as a single brand—Muzik Co., Ltd. What's unique is that the company was built by experts who were active in other fields, but did not have much experience in the eyewear industry. Park In-cheol was a screenwriter, and in the beginning, the design team lead had experience in car and airplane design; another member of the team was a former music video director. However they all had a lot in common in that they were all interested in design and eyewear.

    What do you do at Muzik and Stealer?

    Prior to joining this company, I was responsible for future strategic planning at Hyundai Department Store as part of the store’s product division. I have known the current CEO of Muzik and Stealer for a long time. I saw the potential of the creation and growth of Muzik as a brand. Often in Korea we see only large fashion brands survive. In the realm of eyewear, however, Muzik created its own market; it had a concept. The company also pursued sales methods targeting the global market. Currently, as the head of strategic planning, I am in charge of leading new eyewear business endeavors. I propose business strategies or establish and execute distribution strategies. As part of this, I also look for government support projects.

    What products have been designed in collaboration with famous writers and designers?

    Our collaboration with singer Naul is well known. Naul is famous not only as a musician, but he is also known as a writer. Taking advantage of Naul’s edgy personal style, we launched a pair of 70s-style vintage frames. Another collaboration was done with calligrapher Kelly Park. There have also been collaborations with Kakao Friends and Samsung Galaxy. Stealer worked with the Yoon Design Group to develop a range of eyewear products using the Hangeul (Korean) letters, ㅇ, ㄴ, and ㄷ. This line has been especially popular among foreign guests as gifts.

    What's the most important thing when working with a celebrity or influencer?

    Celebrities and influencers try to show the product naturally in their everyday lives, and don’t give off the feeling that the product is being advertised. Even though the brand of a pair of sunglasses, for example, is not visible in a photo, people leave comments asking the celebrity or influencer where they got them.

    What is your global marketing strategy?

    The company plans to introduce the Muzik and Stealer brands by creating a flagship store where overseas customers can experience the products in person. Beyond that, this year we will enter the Red Dot Design Awards competition with our Innocean smart sunglasses. Conventional smart sunglasses are clunky and have a distinct tech device appearance. However, we are confident that our sunglasses are designed so well that they are indistinguishable from ordinary sunglasses.

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-10-10 View : 3
  • Nine VR: Come See Me KARTS Collaborates with the Contents ONE Campus Korea National University of Arts Industry-University Cooperation Administration

    Nine VR: Come See Me
    KARTS Collaborates with the Contents ONE Campus
    Korea National University of Arts Industry-University Cooperation Administration

    Imagine that you could go back in time nine times. At each crossroads, you must make a choice, and live a new life. This is what the main character experiences in the television drama, Nine: Traveling Through Time. The drama was recently turned into a virtual reality experience in which participants can wear a VR headset and experience the drama as if they were the main character. The story that unfolds changes slightly depending on the choices made by the VR user.

    By reporter Kim Tae-hwan, Money Today Network, kimthin@mtn.co.kr

    “Nine VR: Come See Me” at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival is a spin-off that utilizes the narrative of the original drama. Nine VR is, in short, an immersive VR theater experience.

    The audience, in pairs of two, directly participates in one of the scenes from the drama, recreated in the form of virtual reality. There are a variety of choices in front of them, and depending on the choices they make, the narrative is a little different. The choices of the two viewers eventually become one story, which leads to the ending.

    “Most VR content is an experience for only one person, but this experience was made to be shared by two people,” Nine VR producer Hyun Min-ah (graduate student of the KARTS professional program) explained.

    Choose the Ending: Immersive VR Theater

    Hyun continued by explaining how the Immersive VR Theater allows the users’ choices to determine the ending. To make the experience possible, Hyun had to go through a process of trials and errors during the planning of the Nine VR project. A lot of thought was needed in order to reconstruct the drama in the virtual space. The creators asked themselves questions such as, “What things need to be carried over from the drama?”

    “Nine VR: Come See Me” uses the escape room concept. ⓒKorea National University of Arts

    Hyun Min-ah producing VR content.

    They also discussed the point of view and role of the VR character and other such issues.

    In particular, since the VR experience is only 10 minutes or less in length (unlike long dramas), much thought was given to how to make an impact in a short amount of time by utilizing the original source material.

    Hyun went to 10 escape rooms with her team to try to incorporate escape room content into the project. According to Hyun, “Well-made escape rooms use probable situations. I thought a lot about how I could tell which character I was whenever I wore my VR headset.”

    Technological Understanding Enhances the Final VR Product

    Hyun went through a series of trials and errors and gained a deeper understanding of the importance of technological expertise as she converted existing materials to VR.

    When creating a VR program, it is necessary to decide which parts of the original content should be eliminated and which parts should be kept to make the VR scene function properly. For example, there may be a scene in which the stars fall from the night sky and the ground splits. When translating this same scene into VR, you have to make realistic choices and consider what is technological possible and what is not.

    Hyun explains, “VR content cannot simply be created because the story or the material is attractive; it is always necessary to think about how the VR scenes could be combined and constructed. You have to build an entire system to do each scene correctly.”

    A Collaborative Project Completed at the Contents ONE Campus

    Nine VR was created as part of a collaboration with the Korea National University of Arts (KARTS),

    VR content produced by Korea Creative Content Agency’s “KOCCA Day” are being presented. ⒸKorea Creative Content Agency

    ManiaMind, and the CJ Institute of Future Technology Management. These organizations worked together on “Contents ONE Campus Project Planning and Operation,” hosted by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA).

    The Contents ONE Campus project is a project-based learning (PBL) initiative that brings together content development-focused groups from universities, companies, and research institutes. Projects conducted under this initiative must be led by colleges, and students who participate in the projects must be awarded college credits upon completion.

    In fact, universities who participate in these types of projects must open two or three project-related courses allowing students to earn a total of six credits. Each course must include classes and require that students complete a single or multiple collaborative projects. Open lectures and seminars can be held for the remainder of the non-formal course hours. A mentoring program may also be optionally provided in order to facilitate project completion.

    A New Perspective on Content

    KARTS' Nine VR is one of the most successful projects ever completed under the Contents ONE Campus initiative. Participating students were particularly impressed by the availability of new equipment that is not provided by their university. While working on the project, students had the opportunity to use expensive equipment such as optical tracking, marker-based sensing equipment, motion capture equipment, and tracking equipment. The students said that it was something they wouldn’t have had been able to experience even after starting work upon graduation.

    Representatives from music academies, theaters, and art schools participated in the Nine VR production process as well. Hyun, the producer of Nine VR, recognized the value of the experience, saying, “Collaboration with professionals in other fields allowed us to see the project from different perspectives, and our preconceptions about equipment operation were transformed into knowledge.”

    She continued by adding, “Students who participate in the project gain expertise in the field by collaborating with participating research institutes and companies. Instead of learning theories, they not only receive practical training but also gain valuable hands-on experience by making real content.”

    INTERVIEW
    VR is a fascinating field of telling stories with space

    Hyun Min-ah, KARTS Film Institute Specialist Producer

    What inspired you to create VR content?

    I’ve always loved games. I worked so hard at gaming that I was even able to go to competitions. I was also interested in programming, and I worked briefly as a developer. VR is an intriguing medium in that it uses space to tell stories, which is interesting to me. A VR-related track was created while I was attending the graduate school at the Korea National University of Arts. After attending a number of related classes, the Contents ONE Campus project started and got funding.

    What are your predictions for the VR market?

    Those who work in VR expect the market to grow enormously starting at the end of next year. Mobile carriers are promoting 5G mobile services and content, and are expanding their supply of VR devices (HMD). So far, 5G mobile telecommunications services have been unstable. However, once these services are stabilized, VR will be most suitable content for them.

    It seems that VR content has yet to gain a lot of attention. What are your thoughts about this?

    You can think of it like the Spring and Autumn period in China. Content is now created at a much faster pace than in the past. Trends used to last a year, but now a new trend comes on the scene every 3 months. A great number of people are quickly learning and discovering VR.

    Many people have been disappointed with VR in the past…

    Taiwan's VR work, which was exhibited at the recently held Bucheon Fantastic Film Festival, was extremely realistic with 8K image quality. In the past, it’s not that the content was low in quality, but rather that we lacked the necessary technology. Now, we have the tech needed to make VR indistinguishable from reality.

    How would you describe the success of the KARTS students?

    In 2018, they won First Prize (Shake up!) and the Award of Excellence (Tiger, Bear, and Me) in the V-round category of the Virtual Reality Video Contest, which was a KOCCA event. Both award-winning projects were designed and produced by students who took classes held as part of the Contents ONE Campus collaboration.

    How do you overcome difficulties when creating content?

    As with any project, it often involves all-nighters, especially at the end of the project. Working with other organizations or companies means you end up in all-night discussions. Everybody needs to take care of their health during a project. However, the hardest thing isn’t the intensity of the work or the difficulty—it’s attracting investors. Investors are selected during production, so everything becomes driven by money and deadlines. If there are not enough investments, it may be difficult to continue the project. It is especially difficult when you can't find investors when you need them.

    What are your future plans?

    VR producers also play a role as communicators. The technical language, the creator language, and the investor language are all different. Producers are the ones who function in the middle as translators. I plan to continue playing my role as producer. My next project will be quick and light. In Korea, it takes a long time to plan everything out and to continue until completion. Yet, VR technology is being developed at such fast pace that content often seems old by the time production is finished. Next time, I want to make lighter, more pleasant content.

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-10-10 View : 6
  • Changes in the Content Industry Led by Millennials and Generation Z

    Changes in the Content Industry Led by Millennials and Generation Z

    The distinction between Millennials and Generation Z is fuzzy, but is usually defined as follows: Millennials were born between 1980 and 1994, and are now between the ages of 25 and 39. Some people even talk about expanding this definition to include those born in the early 2000s. Generation Z refers to people who were born after 1995 and, as of 2019, are 24 years old or younger. People who belong to Generation Z are most often seen with a smartphone in hand and are called “phono sapiens.” Those who belong to Generation Z are also known as “digital natives,” which means that they have been exposed to the digital environment since birth.

    By Cho Young-shin, Head of Strategy Division, SK Broadband, troicacho@gmail.com

    ccording to the “2019 Demographic Outlook by Generation” released by Statistics Korea in 2016, Millennials and Generation Z are expected to account for 22.2% and 21.7% of the total population, respectively. The two generations are sometimes collectively referred to as the “MZ Generation,” because they are both very familiar with the digital environment and prefer using mobile devices. Sometimes Generation Z’ers are understood as simply being “young Millennials”; however, there is a need to distinguish between the two groups

    Environmental Differences Lead to Different Media Consumption Trends

    Unlike Generation Z’ers, who grew up taking smartphones for granted, Millennials did not have social media or smartphones during their childhood. Millennials grew up with 2G phones and experienced the birth of the smartphone as well as the growth of social media. However, even within the Millennial generation, different people have different experiences with smartphones and social media, depending on whether they were born in the 1980s or 1990s. In China, people are similarly categorized into generations based on their year of birth. Some of these generations are: Faring Hou(born in the 1980s), Zhuling Hou(born in the 1990s), and Zhou Hou(born after 1995).

    The differences in media characteristics by generation can be seen in terms of media preferences. When looking at a timeline, we can see that high-speed internet services began in 1998, and in 2002, the number of internet users soared, exceeding 10 million individual users. At the same time, internet-based portal services began to emerge, resulting in an internet boom.

    Since 2009, the use of smartphones (Galaxy, iPhone) has surged, signaling the beginning of the mobile era. With the release of the smartphone, instead of unilaterally and uni-directionally receiving information through their TVs and radios, users could now actively explore information through more dynamic media channels such as computers, using the internet and smartphones, and through access to social media.

    Content began to change in response to this new, bilateral flow of information. Millennials have directly experienced these changes in technology and content, and have incorporated these changes into their lives. Gen Z’ers, on the other hand, did not experience the beginning of the mobile market. Instead, they are familiar with the mature mobile market and have consumed mostly mobile-oriented content their entire lives.

    Engaging Millennial Viewers

    Compared to Gen Z’ers, Millennials (especially those born in the 1980s) have had significantly more exposure to uni-directional media, such as television, than today’s interactive media such as the internet and social media. Millennials grew up watching TV, borrowing video tapes, renting DVDs or CDs, and watching things online. They were then introduced to video-on-demand and experienced a gradual shift to the mobile environment.

    Millennials were gradually given more freedom to consume content in any way they wanted, regardless of time and place. With the introduction of more advanced technologies, Millennials could access more diverse content more easily.

    The Millennial Generation includes a wide range of audiences, from before and after the onset of online culture, and actively participates in fan forums and comments, blogs, online social media based on offline relationships (such as BuddyBuddy, Cyworld) and preference-based online social media (such as internet cafes, communities, and Twitter). By communicating in all of these ways, Millennials have created their own online culture.

    Even without having any kind of personal relationship with other users offline, Millennials easily form online communities with other people who share their same interests.

    Online forums make it possible for people to actively participate in uni-directionally produced video content by expressing their opinions. The digital environment and IPTV (released in 2008) video-on-demand have made video replays easier, allowing users to watch and analyze videos repeatedly. Fandoms formed as a result, and people started producing parodies and communicating through user-generated content. In these and other ways, the viewer was transformed from a passive entity, to one that actively analyzes and participates in the content being produced.

    This trend is evidenced by the MBC entertainment program Infinite Challenge, which aired from 2005 to 2018. Infinite Challenge viewers communicated with the production team through MBC viewer forums and online fan cafes for the show. In 2013, in an episode titled “Requesting Infinite Challenge,” fans were able to participate directly in the production process by presenting their ideas during the broadcast.

    Media and Content Suited to Different Tastes

    Millennials encountered the digital environment naturally as they grew older and consumed video content on a variety of media platforms, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones. For Millennials, TV was no longer a necessity. This generation shows a relatively high tolerance of paid content due to their past experience of having to pay to view media

    In today’s media world, users are able to choose different media platforms and different content types based on their own unique tastes. For example, users can classify movies into “movies to see in theaters” and “movies to watch on Netflix.” There is a tendency among Millennials to utilize multiple devices for viewing content compared to other generations. This is why Baby Boomers and Generation X account for 70.8% and 46.9%, respectively, of all TV viewing time, while Millennials represents a much lower percentage of only 38.5%.Milennials’ overall decreased paid TV viewership, compared to other generations, is sometimes referred to as "cord cutting."

    These types of viewers also pay for games or watch movies and dramas online. Millennials also tend to prefer platforms that allow them to access content freely at any time through mobile devices, rather having to download.

    What matters most to Millennials is having the ability to customize their viewing experience to suit their individual tastes. Streaming services that support a variety of devices have “shops” (in which points are used for product purchases); these services and shops give Millennials many choices related to their viewing experience. Netflix, one such service, offers more choices by releasing episodes all at once, so that viewers can binge watch, watching up to an entire series of a single program all in one sitting. It’s interesting to note that viewers in their 20s and 30s account for 69% of all total Netflix subscribers (WiseApp, 2019).

    The Experience Generation: Generation Z

    Generation Z grew up with YouTube, which began in 2005, so this generation is also called the YouTube Generation. According to Nielsen Korea, Gen Z’ers use smartphones an average of six hours a day, which is the largest amount of smartphone use among all the generations..

    According to a report that looked at the YouTube usage behaviors and attitudes of people ages 15 to 24, Gen Z’ers spend an average of 2 hours and 29 minutes a day watching YouTube, while Millennials spend an average of 1 hour and 36 minutes a day watching YouTube. Statistically, out of all the generations, Gen Z'ers spend the most time watching YouTube

    Mukbang video from the popular YouTuber “Haetnim” Ⓒ YouTube

    On YouTube, viewers can easily become creators. The platform is particularly familiar to Gen Z’ers, who are used to communicating through video

    Gen Z’ers mainly consume user-created content. According to the 2016 Nielsen Korea Monthly Topic, teenagers and adults in their 20s prefer user-created video services, while a higher proportion of users in their 40s or older prefer ready-made content..

    Gen Z’ers communicate with individual streamers on platforms such as AfreecaTV and Twitch, as well as on YouTube, effectively broadcasting together. They even produce videos where the creator and viewers study together. To Gen Z’ers, watching someone study or eat (also known as a mukbang), is not simply watching a video, but is enjoyed as an experience.

    Gen Z’ers have created a user-oriented experience culture through the reproduction of videos. Users film their own reactions to movies, dramas, entertainment shows, or blockbuster movie trailers, such as for the Avengers. Such “reaction videos” reproduce content to express it in different forms. This can be seen in videos that combine multiple videos into one, and videos that are created as a reaction to other reaction videos.

    They tend to watch reaction videos based on their own interests such ready-made content, which includes movies, anime, dramas, or other forms of entertainment. Other popular video types include: “unboxing” videos (in which users open packages onscreen and introduce products while giving their first impressions); videos in which users react to items from other cultures/countries (such as YouTuber Korean Englishman’s “Fire Noodle Challenge!!” video showing British people eating spicy noodles); and other such content that standard media outlets have failed to cover. Kpop reaction videos produced in Korea are enjoyed mainly by overseas teens and YouTubers in their 20s. These videos have also played a role in forming K-Pop fan groups for Korean idol groups such as BTS

    YouTube: Generation Z’s Preferred Search Engine

    According to a statement given by Naver CEO Han Sung-sook at Naver Connect 2018, YouTube users, especially younger users, are moving beyond using YouTube simply for viewing videos and are now using it as a search engine. According to the Nasmedia 2019 Internet User Survey, about 7 out of 10 teenage internet users report using YouTube as a search engine. Unlike ready-made content, which is aimed at general audiences, user-created content, which accounts for the majority of YouTube, can handle the diverse and specialized needs of viewers at the level that they need

    K-POP Reaction. Ⓒ YouTube

    Gen Z’ers obtain product information on YouTube as well as recipes, all types of tutorials, movies, news, and more. Content views also influence their consumption of products or media, especially when content creators who are trusted by their viewers recommend certain products or media. Users may show a greater tendency to consume ready-made or gaming content, such as movies and dramas, after viewing content such as creator summaries or gameplay videos.

    In contrast to Millennials, who still show a tendency to consume based on celebrity endorsements, Generation Z’ers prefer influencers who produce user-created content. For most Gen Z’ers, videos are now an integral part of life. In order to target this generation, social media platforms like Facebook are expanding from message- and photo-based feeds to real-time video streaming. Instagram's IGTV and Facebook's Watch are good examples of this. It is also said that Gen Z’ers prefer short videos, because passively watching videos now seems boring to them.

    The characteristics of Generation Z, the generation of experiential media, are not limited to online platforms. Produce 101, a reality show which started in 2016, is creating a phenomenon in which fans cheer for their favorite contestant, not only through online communities and social media, but also offline, and communicate with other fans using actual post-it notes. Similarly, movie theaters, which have been gradually losing their teenage audiences, capitalized on the popularity of the song “Let It Go” and offered sing-a-longs, followed by “cheer screenings,” which function like a concert with fans holding cheer signs. Both of these efforts have proven to be a success.

    Transitioning from Millennials to Generation Z

    Millennials and Gen Z’ers differ in the media they were exposed to during their developmental years, and thus they have different media consumption patterns. In particular, Millennials born in the 1980s show tendencies that are the farthest removed from those of others in the so-called MZ Generation. Millennials in their 30s, who were born in the late 1980s, have long viewed media through the television screen. Unlike Millennials born in the 1990s, who are now in their 20s, most Millennials in their 30s have their own homes and have become fully independent. This group is more accustomed to ready-made content shown on TV.

    An Aladdin sing-along event held in a movie theater. ⒸCGV

    From Millennials born in the 1980s to Generation Z’ers, ready-made content is slowly shifting toward mobile and user-made content.

    This trend is not only limited to one generation, but is spreading throughout the general population. This is evidenced by the rising percentage of people in their 40s and older on TikTok, which was once considered to be exclusively for teenagers, and the increase of middle-aged and older adults on YouTube. These and other changes are gradually spreading throughout all generations as society continues to evolve as a whole.

    An MZ Generation World

    How then should media corporations cope with these changes as they prepare for Millennials and Generation Z’ers to increasingly become their target audiences? Demands for content are increasing, and there are a variety of content pools and low-cost international subscription streaming services that can satisfy these demands. However, younger viewers in Generation Z are starting to no longer be satisfied with what they see and are demanding more and newer options.

    This group of viewers wants content that can meet their needs at their level, allowing them to participate and communicate directly with media content, be a producer of video clips, and/or share their experiences, such as in the form of study broadcasts or mukbangs.

    Existing TV formats that supply and provide content are finding it increasingly difficult to satisfy new audiences.

    To ensure their future success, media corporations may want to focus on N-Screen, which supports multiple devices, create and distribute content that can handle a variety of short-length material, or add elements that allow for sharing and active participation by users. This could be in the form of social TV or in the form of contact with offline customers such as Netflix's Stranger Things pop-up event.

    Millennials and Gen Z’ers have different characteristics than older generations because they are used to different media, platforms, and content. They are more accustomed to self-expression, and they value honesty and empathy. They also tend to show a preference for media that is customized to their own personal tastes. How will the media consumption patterns of these users affect future generations, and how should we cope with these changes? It's time to start thinking the answers to this important question.

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-10-10 View : 11
  • The many challenges of underwater filming… Seaflex Film stands at the forefront of film technology

    The many challenges of underwater filming…
    Seaflex Film stands at the forefront of film technology

    It’s raining cats and dogs outside. A father, son, and daughter exit a mansion and head home to their basement apartment. They arrive and go downstairs only to find that their home is completely submerged. All their household goods are either underwater or floating, and the toilet is completely backed up.

    By guest reporter Kim Tae-hwan, kimthin@mtn.co.kr

    Parasite, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, is widely known for its flooded basement apartment scene, which plays an important role in the story’s development. A few hours before a family finds their basement apartment flooded, they are all at their landlord’s mansion and remark that the rain ‘adds to the ambience of their house.’ However, they get a brutal reality check once they go home and have to bail out water. Without this landmark scene, it is possible that Parasite might not have been the first Korean winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s top award.

    The basement apartment scene in Parasite was shot by Seaflex Film. Seaflex is the only video shooting company in Korea that specializes in underwater filming. The company has not only filmed the classic scene in Parasite but also most of the underwater scenes of movies shot in Korea.

    Seaflex Film has been involved in a number of movies, including: The Spy Gone North, The Villainess, The Battleship Island, Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds, The Pirates, Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow, Sea Fog, The Suspect, The Face Reader, all of which have succeeded artistically and commercially. Seaflex Film was also in charge of the underwater filming for Bridal Mask, The King of Legend, New Tales of Gisaeng, Wild Romance, and Goblin.

    Filming equipment that rivals even that of Hollywood

    Underwater filming is classified as a type of special effect. For underwater filming, it is essential that cameras and other equipment are waterproof. The location is also important as it is difficult to shoot in natural spaces with a lot of waves or floating materials. The weather is also a factor. Outdoor locations are difficult to shoot in the winter because of freezing temperatures. In order to convey a feeling of deep waters while still being able to operate filming equipment smoothly, it is necessary to have water that is dozens of meters deep.

    People in the film industry name ‘weightlessness’ as the most difficult thing about underwater filming and say that underwater filming is ‘like trying to screw something in place at a space station.’ Buoyancy kicks in underwater, so artificial gear is needed, and shooting is often very slow. There are also time constraints due to the lack of oxygen underwater. Compressed air doesn’t solve this problem because breathing in compressed air for long periods of time can have an anesthetic effect, caused by nitrogen.

    As a result of these challenges, it’s hard to establish and maintain a workforce—–it has even come to the point where many times, underwater scenes are simply eliminated altogether from movies. Many times as well, a lot of money, time, and effort are invested in underwater filming, but the final product doesn’t quite reflect all the input of all these resources. Seaflex Film, however, possesses underwater filming equipment and know-how that rivals even that of Hollywood. The first thing that makes it different from other companies is the special ‘housing’ it uses to make cameras waterproof. In the past, the director of photography himself went underwater to shoot while looking at a small monitor. However, this method resulted in a lot of unusable footage because the camera was unable to focus due to its depth and the image distortion that naturally occurs underwater.

    The cameras and housing used by Seaflex Film are controlled from the outside using a remote. Everything is controlled from outside of the water. The director sets the camera angles on land, and the rest is controlled by the person in charge of the filming. The director can precisely check the focus and angle of the camera, so the problem of not being able to focus is now a thing of the past, and filming is quicker.

    Attaining vibrant videos using the world’s best housing technology

    In years past, only fixed shots were possible when filming underwater. This was because if the location was changed after finally focusing the camera, the camera would then have to be focused all over again. Now, however, ‘moving shots’ have been made possible, all thanks to the advanced equipment of Seaflex Film. With Seaflex’s unique equipment and filming methods, camera focus can be clearly seen from the outside and continuously adjusted. In this way, various camera angles can be used to create a more dynamic product and vibrant video.

    Seaflex Film also uses camera housing that is extremely versatile. In the past, different housing had to be used for each camera. If the camera had to be changed mid-shot, the housing also had to be changed. To connect a cable or change the battery, the equipment had to be taken out of the water and then submerged again once the task was competed. This same process was also used in Hollywood, which boasts the most advanced movie industry in the world.

    Seaflex Film’s underwater set and waterproof camera housing

    Seaflex housing can be used for a variety of different cameras. Part of the camera housing can be folded for use on small cameras. In fact, Seaflex housing is so versatile that it can even be used as a smartphone casing on both Samsung Galaxy and iPhone devices.

    The waterproof housing can also be installed on jimmy jibs and cranes. In this way, the shot can start on land and continue as the scene moves to the surface of the water or underwater. This means that a scene where a character in a movie falls into the water can be shown from beginning to end in one long take from the character’s point of view.

    Increasing video and story quality and reducing costs

    Advancements in filming technology have led to greater diversity in movie plots. Seaflex CEO Kim Jun-hee said, “Film plots are expanding from realistic romances or dramas to stories about space and other places yet to be explored by humans.” He added, “In the past, even if there was a lot of interest in stories set in the ocean or underwater, many of these movies didn’t get past the planning stage because we lacked the technology to produce them. As underwater shooting technology has advanced, more and more movies have started to explore marine themes.”

    The most obvious effect of these advancements is reduced costs. Seaflex Film’s equipment makes their filming cost 30% cheaper than other companies. Yet, the company’s video quality is better than its competitors.

    CEO Kim Jun-hee said, “Seaflex’s equipment is at a similar level or slightly more advanced than the equipment used in Hollywood, but the Korean market doesn’t recognize this. What we are building and operating is very good, but I guess many people have no basis for comparison. China and the US, on the other hand, already know that Seaflex equipment is outstanding.”

    Seaflex Film has 10 patents pending for underwater filming equipment, and 7 of them are already registered. The remaining 3 are currently being reviewed. Seaflex Film has also procured a design patent for each of its pieces of equipment.

    The crane’s weight variation system and assortment of waterproof cables

    CEO Kim explained that being selected for a government-promoted R&D program helped the company develop such excellent equipment. Specifically, the company was able to build a crane weight variation system after it received a budget of KRW 300 million by applying to the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA)’s Danbi Program.

    Targeting the global market through KOCCA’s Danbi Program

    Water has a great amount of buoyancy. When a camera is installed on a crane, resistance occurs when the crane and camera enter the water. For this reason, the sinker at the end of the crane needs to be moved to the front to increase the weight of the crane and help it enter the water.

    Seaflex Film’s crane weight variation system has received favorable responses abroad. Last year at the Cine Gear Expo, an exhibit for film equipment, Seaflex Film received rave reviews from Hollywood representatives, which helped the company become better known internationally.

    Building off of its previous successes, Seaflex Film is in the process of opening an office in Los Angeles in the USA. By opening an LA office, the company aims to create a point of contact with Hollywood movie representatives and eventually expand throughout the USA.

    CEO Kim Jun-hee stated, “We are in talks to start shooting a Chinese movie in the second half of the year. We are also thinking of expanding to China in addition to the US.”

    CEO Kim said, “The overseas market is so huge that, at first, I didn’t even dare to dream of entering it. Jumping into enemy territory is only possible when you at least have a better weapon than the enemy, but I have the confidence now. Our revenue isn’t high and our workface is small, but it is my dream to become the number one underwater filming company, not only in Asia, but the world.”

    In addition, Seaflex Film is planning to build a set in Korea that will be used exclusively for underwater filming.

    CEO Kim shared his goals for the company saying, “You should see the sky when you look up from underwater, but when you see equipment, it’s hard to erase that with CG. There are four seasons in Korea, so it’s cold during certain periods, which makes it difficult to build sets outdoors. I purchased land in Paju to build an indoor swimming pool, and when I have the capital, I plan to turn it into an underwater shooting location.”

    INTERVIEW
    The road of underwater filming over the past 20 years…
    “My goal is to become the world’s best underwater filming company.”

    Kim Jun-hee, Seaflex Film CEO

    When did you start underwater filming?

    I have been in the field of underwater filming for 20 years. I started underwater filming in 1998 and mostly shot documentaries. But I decided there was no future there and changed courses to underwater filming for movies. I established the company in 2009. Around the time I switched to movies, movie filming was completely changing from film to digital. It was then that I first introduced digital underwater filming in Korea.

    What was your most memorable shoot?

    The movie 4th Place. It’s a movie about human rights, but the subject is swimming. The people who worked together with me on the movie were all just starting out. We worked very closely together with the purpose of making a good film. More than anything else, we went down in Korean film history and set an example of what an underwater shoot should be. In the film, we were able to showcase everything related to underwater shooting, almost as if we were a textbook showing “this is how underwater shooting is done.” The movie wasn’t successful commercially, but it’s very memorable to me because we cooperated and shared our knowledge and experience and established a standard for underwater shooting.

    How has the industry responded to the improvements made in underwater filming technology?

    Word has started to spread in the movie industry. We were asked questions like, “How did you guys shoot that?” and explained that, “We shot with so-and-so and this is how it was done,” so more and more people began to talk about Seaflex. In this way, our name spread throughout the industry. Many people in the movie industry are concerned when they learn that the movie they’re working on involves underwater filming because underwater filming is difficult, takes a long time, and is expensive. But now, with the advancements we’ve made, I hope that people aren’t so scared anymore. Underwater filming also has the effect of making the film seem more polished. When you shoot as much real picture as possible before using CG, the CG can be better executed. Seaflex Film is basically supporting CG technology.

    You use a variety of equipment. How do you conduct R&D?

    I’m the CEO of the company, and I do the R&D myself. I gather ideas by attending overseas exhibits, where I carefully examine the products on display. I also bring in equipment to discuss and share ideas with my staff. Once we decide how to improve our equipment and/or methods, we get to work.
    It was really difficult in the beginning because there was very little interest in underwater equipment in Korea. You couldn’t even see proper equipment except in the shipyard. Which is why, in our early days, we purchased several hundred million won worth of imported underwater equipment. We did a lot of benchmarking during this time. We didn’t create something out of nothing but instead, we improved slowly by carefully changing things that weren’t working for us along the way.

    How big is your company?

    We are a small company comprised of 6 to 7 movie staff members. There are about 5 resident employees. Our revenue isn’t high, but we dream of becoming the number 1 company for underwater filming not only in the Korean market but the world. We recently started proceedings to open an office in LA in the USA and signed an MOU with China’s Wanda Steel. I plan to go full speed towards tapping the global market.

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-07-16 View : 22
  • “A warm look at the younger generation”, Video production by .FACE

    “A warm look at the younger generation”,
    Video production by .FACE

    Slime can be cut with scissors. It can also be poured into an animal mold, embedded with beads, or stretched apart with your two hands until it tears. Slime can also be sprinkled with sand and mixed with colorful glitter

    By guest reporter Kim Tae-hwan, kimthin@mtn.co.kr

    On the surface, it appears to simply be another slime video—which is all the rage these days—but in actuality, it is a video that explains the Korean Constitution. To express the idea that there are various discourses within the Constitution, the video’s producer takes slime embedded with beads and stretches it out. To explain the many issues and discourses surrounding Constitutional amendments, he cuts and tears slime and even re-shapes it using plastic figures.

    The video, titled ‘I Didn’t Think I Could Feel So Smart After Watching a Slime Video,’ produced by .FACE, has had 2.5 million views on Facebook and over 450,000 views on YouTube as of the end of June. Viewers have showered the video and its producer with unending praise, posting things like, “This is so easy to understand,” “I loved this completely new presentation,” and “the producer of this video deserves a raise.”

    Creating a new reality for millennials

    FACE is a media startup established 3 years ago under the slogan, ‘We create a new reality for the millennial generation.’ The startup was created by a group of young people who felt keenly aware of the limitations of traditional media and wanted to plan and create a platform where their voices could be heard.

    Even though there are many young journalists in the media today, their views often get softened or removed at the editing desk. Their fresh take on life gets reprocessed through the eyes of the older generation, and the edited content is what gets presented to the public. Although the editing process is not what is wrong, it is still a fact that what is presented at the end of the day is different from the viewpoints expressed by the younger generation. There are many cases in which young people aren’t able to express what they truly want to say.

    Another obstacle is that traditional media has to cover every subject, from politics and the economy to culture and the arts—it doesn’t miss a single sector. However, while the range of subjects is wide, platforms for coverage are limited, and there is a constant lack of personnel. If there are 100 subjects and only 70 can be covered, the remaining 30 are deemed ‘not as important’ and simply disappear. Debating a story’s importance is unavoidable and in the end, metadiscourses on national concerns and problems, such as those involving large companies, are the ones that get coverage. The reality is that the minority can’t help but be ignored.

    .FACE tackles stories from the point of view of the younger generation, especially those in the minority. .FACE usually tackles areas often neglected by mainstream media, such as sexual minorities, feminism, and animal rights. Even when covering the same issues as traditional media, .FACE takes on the role of supplementing stories that lack factual or relational explanations.

    .FACE initially made itself known by covering issues related to feminism and sexual minorities. It set itself apart by putting stories on its front page that couldn’t be found in mainstream media.

    .FACE producer Lee Sun-wook says, “Even now, we always ask ourselves when we decide on a subject, “What will it mean and how will it help our friends’ generation if we tell this story?” Lee added, “We never forget to ask ourselves this question when we discuss a matter.”

    From 1 minute 30 seconds to 10 minutes…Video content optimization

    In its early days, .FACE produced videos that were only 1 minute, 30 seconds long and used Facebook as its main platform of exposure, since shorter videos had a higher frequency of exposure. As time went on, video channel trends completely shifted to YouTube, and videos themselves started to change. On YouTube, video length is virtually unlimited, but many viewers still don’t have a long attention span. Through the process of trial and error, .FACE established a method of squeezing all of its main points into a 10- to 15-minute video.

    As .FACE grew in influence, its video coverage began to lead to societal change. While tackling the issue of the nation’s worsening find dust situation, .FACE pointed out that the Korean government’s standards were looser than those of the OECD, which led the Korean Ministry of Environment to revise its fine dust standards. Last fall, .FACE took on the issue of abortion, and Korea’s anti-abortion law was subsequently ruled unconstitutional.

    The revenue structure of .FACE is largely divided into branded content and funding. First, branded content is produced and provided by .FACE to companies, the government, and institutions to promote their policies and/or products. However, .FACE doesn’t simply accept all branded content to meet their huge production budget. They always select and produce branded content that reflects .FACE values. They even recently set a policy that provides its own membership service through branded content.

    Funding is also used to produce content. .FACE used to utilize external websites like Tumblbug but recently got selected for Google funding. The content funding platform provided by Google has helped .FACE create a new media revenue model. .FACE and Maeil Business Newspaper were the only two companies based in Korea that were selected for Google funding.

    A scene from ‘Five Facts You Need to Know About Fine Dust,’ a video that intuitively explains fine dust using chocolate snacks

    1. A scene from ‘I Didn’t Think I Could Feel So Smart After Watching a Slime Video.’

    2. A scene from ‘Yakiniku’, the first episode of Soul Food

    Support from KOCCA helpful in amassing internal know-how

    In addition, .FACE was selected in the New Media Category of Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA)’s Broadcasting Support Program to receive funding. The New Media Category is comprised of web documentary and web entertainment domains. .FACE considered itself part of the web documentary domain and thus applied for support.

    Producer Lee Sun-wook explained, “We needed a lot of manpower and production funding for the Soul Food Project.” Lee added, “We wanted to produce a sequel to the Soul Food Project and, while figuring out how to obtain funding, decided to apply to KOCCA’s program.”

    Producer Lee said, “We were able to successfully produce the content with the support of KOCCA. There wouldn’t be a Soul Food special without their support.”

    The term “soul food” originates from the food African-Americans used to eat in their hometowns and has the connotation of being unforgettable food that is infused with memories of the past. The Soul Food Project sheds light and explains the soul food of a class of people experiencing alienation. Each episode has garnered 200,000–500,000 views and caused quite a stir.

    Producer Lee elaborated, saying that the KOCCA’s support program helped a lot because it not only provided production funding, but consultation during the production process as well.

    He explained, “We didn’t have a lot of experience or expertise, which made things difficult, but we gained a lot of knowledge through the consultations provided by KOCCA during production. Our method of production changed a lot during this program. The down side of a startup like .FACE is that there is no one with seniority that can offer guidance, but the support we received from KOCCA helped compensate for this weakness.”

    INTERVIEW
    A startup company that experiences much ‘trial and error’ but also the ‘rewards’ of contributing to societal change

    .FACE Producer Lee Sun-wook

    How did .FACE come about?

    We initially got together in the planning stage to create a social platform—not a news platform—in which people could participate. We thought of creating an application where people could submit their news reports and a service to provide feedback on the submitted reports. But while we were preparing this service, the desire to produce our own content grew stronger. In 2016, there were 4 pioneering members and other members and I joined these 4 original members, and that’s when we formally pushed through with the video media business. We received investments in September 2016, got incorporated, and here we are.

    What were you doing prior to this?

    I was looking for employment as a current affairs producer at a broadcasting station. I studied and submitted applications for almost 2 years, but I wasn’t able to find employment. Even though I was trying to get a job in broadcast media, I wasn’t watching a lot of TV, so I wondered if I could create good programs.

    So, you didn’t immediately join .FACE? Can you tell me more about your previous experiences?

    I realized that a new ecosystem had emerged with the birth of social media like YouTube and Facebook. I thought it would be fun to go that route, so I quit my press licensure exam and started a YouTube channel with like-minded friends. We initially dealt with educational content for elementary school kids. We had some success in the 6 months that we ran it, and even won an award in a CJ E&M competition. The experience helped me learn more about the short video format, which was unlike the 50-minute video format that I learned while studying to be a producer.

    What challenges do you experience when covering your stories?

    It’s hard to explain the work that we do at .FACE. I think that as a startup, there’s a lot of trial and error. Also, .FACE doesn’t keep an archive of its stories, like traditional media and seasoned companies do. Personally, I think that’s regrettable. Another challenge is the strong minority and progressive image that .FACE has. Our reporters respond positively when we cover minority issues, but because of our image, sometimes I’m unable to even make contact with reporters of differing opinions. There are pros and cons to having a certain image

    What makes your job worthwhile?

    It’s so rewarding when a subject we cover leads to societal change. Some things probably weren’t decided based solely on a .FACE video, but I’m certain we’ve had influence. I’m reminded of the time when the Constitutional Court ruled our country’s anti-abortion laws to be unconstitutional after we tackled the abortion issue last fall, and the time the Ministry of Environment increased its fine dust standards after we covered the fine dust issue

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-07-16 View : 7
  • We want to tell stories that everyone can relate to

    We want to tell stories that everyone can relate to

    Recently, there’s been a lot of interest in indie music, a term used to refer to independent (‘indie’) music that hasn’t been affected by the usual commercial system. Indie bands are viewed as being free from commerciality and operate independently from the music industry, in which a huge amount of capital is invested. However, the reality is that it is difficult to survive long in the domestic music market without receiving capital investment.

    By guest reporter Kim Ji-hyun, jihyunsports@mtn.co.kr

    Surl members Seol Ho-seung, Lee Han-bin, Kim Do-yeon, Oh Myung-seok (from left to right)

    As indie music, known for its sophistication, increasingly appeals to the public, investors are diving into the indie band market, and indie bands like Hyukoh and Daybreak are being reborn as ‘star bands.’

    Many institutions, namely the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), host annual contests for the purpose of promoting indie music and supporting indie artists. Through these types of events, many bands have been introduced to the world and have been supported with prize money.

    The indie band I’ll be introducing in this issue is the talented Surl, winners of the Excellence Award at the ‘2018 EBS Hello Rookie of the Year with KOCCA’ and the Grand Prize at the ‘2018 Shinhan Card Rookie Project.’ I met with the band’s members to hear more about their band, music, and goals for the future

    THIS IS SURL

    The band Surl is a group of friends, all of whom were born in 1998. The group’s leader Seol Ho-seung, is on vocals and guitar, Lee Han-bin is on bass, Oh Myung-seok is on drums, and Kim Do-yeon is on guitar. The friends became a band when member Lee Han-bin called up the band’s leader Seol Ho-seung and suggested they start a band. The two friends formed a band and then invited Oh Myung-seok, who they met at Ahyeon Polytechnic School, to join their group. After a jam session one day, they felt that they could achieve a fuller sound by adding one more member. They set out looking for a new member and met Do-yeon, the last addition to their band.

    Once the group was formed, Surl started to earnestly explore different styles of music to find their own sound. Seol Ho-seung explained, “When you keep playing music, you eventually find the music that suits your taste.” He added, “We went through a process of testing everything—from our music to our ensemble method and even our clothes. We now feel like we are wearing the right clothes.”

    What music genre does Surl want to pursue? Seol Ho-seung says, “I don’t want to classify our music,” and ambitiously declares, “Surl is its own genre.” He added, “We all like British rock, so it could naturally be infused into our music.” Happy Robot Records, the band’s official agency, states that their music is founded on British rock and blues

    Indie band Surl won the Excellence Award at the ‘2018 EBS Hello Rookie of the Year with KOCCA

    Music that started in a space a little over 3 ㎡

    A distinct feature of the band can be found in its name. The name Surl comes from the Chinese character for ‘word(s)’. When naming the band, all the members agreed that they wanted to include a word in the band’s name that had to do with ‘story.’ They chose the name Surl to convey the idea that they’re a band that tells stories.

    Seol Ho-seung said, “When we gathered to name the band, we first decided what kind of band we wanted to be.” He continued, “We looked for a word that was related to ‘story’ because we wanted to tell stories that many people could relate to, and we ultimately decided on the Chinese character ‘surl.’

    As is common with many indie bands, Surl had a humble beginning. Things for the band started to improve after they signed up with their current agency, Happy Robot Records, in January. They had experienced many challenges prior to working with the agency. The most difficult thing about not belonging to an agency was finding a place to play. The members had to scour different locations to find temporary spaces where they could practice.

    Lee Han-bin said, “In our early days, we would sometimes practice in Ho-seung’s rehearsal room, which was a little over three square meters.” He added, “On the days we couldn’t practice there, we had to search all over town to find a place to rehearse.” In an effort to improve their situation, the members eventually started collecting a rehearsal fee from each member to rent a proper rehearsal space. Lee Han-bin noted, “We each spent about KRW 50,000 a day in rehearsal fees.” He added, “If I think about the money we spent on a year’s rent of rehearsal space, it’s tremendous.”

    They realized that they couldn’t ignore finances if they wanted to continue as a band. After agonizing over what to do, they settled on a strategy of doing public performances and joining contests that offered prize money.

    Kim Do-yeon said, “We tried our best to participate in as many concerts and contests as possible.” He continued, saying, “The Hello Rookie program was the most popular one, so we really tried hard to be part of that.” He continued, “We were able to take part in the Shinhan Card Rookie Project through the nomination of a friend.” He recalled, “We aggressively joined these contests and much more.”

    “More support for indie bands”

    Surl won the Excellence Award at the ‘2018 EBS Hello Rookie of the Year with KOCCA’ and also won the Grand Prize at the ‘2018 Shinhan Card Rookie Project.’ These are some of the huge rewards that the band reaped after it was formed.

    Surl made their name known by actively participating in numerous contests

    After making themselves known by winning awards at big competitions, Surl started getting calls from various entertainment companies. However, their hearts were already set on a particular one. They signed a deal with Happy Robot Records, the agency that was home to musicians like Daybreak, No Reply, and Soran, which were their musical idols.

    Winning the competitions not only provided the band with an agency, which, in turn, provided stability, but also gave them an opportunity to grow. By winning in the Hello Rookie program, they received band mentoring for the first time. Thanks to the mentoring experience, the band is now able to manage their careers in a more systematic way.

    Lee Han-bin said, “There were many benefits to winning in these competitions, such as receiving funding for our album and music video production, funding for our rehearsal space, and mentoring.” He went on to say, “Support like this feels like an oasis in the desert; it’s such a great help for an indie band like us.” He added, “I hope that there will be more competitions and support programs.” Seol Ho-seung chimed in, saying, “Our rehearsal space is taken care of right now, but it would help us a lot if we could rehearse in different regions of the country.”

    Surl hopes that their music can be a comfort to many people. Oh Myung-seok explained, “There are more lonely people around us than we realize. I hope that our music can give them some consolation.” Leader Seol Ho-seung also shared his hopes for the band and its music, saying, “I like to think that we are indirectly conversing with people through our songs. I want to send out the message through our songs that ‘you are not alone.’”

    INTERVIEW
    What music did you enjoy listening to before starting Surl?

    Seol Ho-seung : I liked anything with an element of British music. I especially enjoyed listening to the songs of the English alternative rock band Coldplay.

    Kim Do-yeon : I liked the English rock band Led Zeppelin. Now, I also enjoy listening to Lo-fi music, which has a classic vibe.

    Oh Myung-seok : I used to like fusion music that had both Eastern and Western vibes.

    Lee Han-bin : I enjoyed pop

    How do you try to put your band’s name out there?

    Lee Han-bin : I think advertising on social media is the most effective these days. So we actively upload videos of our performances on social media and promote them.

    Seol Ho-seung : We try our best to perform as much as possible. After our shows, we used to give our fans stickers that we made ourselves. It was a sticker of our band logo, and I remember the response was positive.

    Which of your songs are you particularly fond of?

    Seol Ho-seung : ‘Cilla.’ I think this song most clearly conveys the message that I want to send out to people these days. I also like the melody. I really hope that readers take a listen.

    Oh Myung-seok : ‘9subways.’ This song reflects the emotions I felt when I had to get on the subway to go to a performance. Since I’m a drummer, I gravitate towards songs where the drumming stands out, and this is that kind of song.

    Lee Han-bin : ‘Snow.’ I really like the storyline of the song. I listen to it a lot when I’m going through a hard time. I think it’s a song many people can relate to.

    Kim Do-yeon : ‘Dead Man.’ I think it has a great guitar riff, which is a melody or chord that leaves an impression on you.

    Which song do you most want to tell people about?

    Seol Ho-seung : ‘Stay Here.’ I think it’s the most enjoyable and relatable of our songs.

    Lee Han-bin : I want people to know about ‘The Lights Behind You.’ If you want something that feels new from Surl, I recommend this song.

    What would you like to tell your fans?

    Seol Ho-seung : I hope you find consolation in our songs.

    Lee Han-bin : Whether it’s loneliness or difficulty, I’d like our fans to be able to share their painful emotions with us. It would be even better if they came to a show to share their feelings.

    How would you describe Surl using only one word?

    Seol Ho-seung : Storytellers

    Kim Do-yeon : Chatterboxes

    What would you like to achieve as Surl?

    Seol Ho-seung : A short-term goal is to hold our own concert as soon as possible. I want to see with my own eyes how much people really like us.

    Kim Do-yeon : I want to perform at the international festival, Glastonbury, in the UK.

    Oh Myung-seok : I want the band to be so famous that we end up in textbooks.

    Lee Han-bin : I want to appear on the TV show ‘Yu Huiyeol’s Sketchbook.’ My ultimate goal is to be a band that represents our era.

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-07-16 View : 2
  • A new content world ushered in by 5G

    A new content world ushered in by 5G

    By guest reporter Kim Tae-hwan, kimthin@mtn.co.kr

    Fifth generation (5G) mobile communication technology allows for more data to be delivered more quickly. 5G, based on the 28 GHz frequency band, is 20 times faster than LTE—fourth generation mobile communication—and has low latency. The delay time for LTE is 20 milliseconds (1 millisecond=1/1000 second), but the delay time for 5G is only 1 millisecond. Currently, it is fairly common to be watching a football game online and see a goal happen a few seconds after it’s aired on TV. However, delays like this will soon be a thing of the past since fifth generation mobile communication practically guarantees an equally fast communication speed wherever, whenever.

    When the delay time is decreased in this way through 5G mobile communication, the content sector can deliver more data in real time for a true virtual reality experience. Movies can go beyond high-resolution and be created in 4D, making things onscreen appear as if they were happening right before your eyes. Broadcast networks can provide in real time, not just one simple video, but various footage that has been shot from different angles. Games will no longer need to be saved on a PC or console device but can be enjoyed directly from a cloud without downloading. VR, which used to rely on wires, will be available wireless. Reading can also go past simply reading books through an app to the possible creation of an actual electronic book. In many ways, 5G can be seen as a gateway technology, paving the way for an era in which information can be pulled up and videos can be played in the air, all through the use of holograms.

    Choose your own ending films… Experiential movies on the rise

    The movie Remembering First Love recently gained much attention for its incorporation of VR technology. The audience watched the movie, which was shot in 360 degrees, while wearing VR headsets. This enabled the audience to get a closer look at the world of film by looking to their left and right as they watched the movie.

    Movies deliver visual information through the use of a standardized screen. Even though there have been changes in the screen size and resolution over the years, the medium of the square screen has remained unchanged. VR technology completely shatters the concept of the traditional screen. It pulls the audience inside the movie and makes the movie watching experience more real.

    Furthermore, VR technologies allow for interaction between the content and the user. Up until recently, data was only delivered in one direction, but with the introduction of 5G mobile communication, movies and audiences can exchange information and interact. When the main character in a movie stands at a crossroads, viewers can even make choices to influence the storyline. This kind of concept is known as ‘interactive storytelling.’

    The most recent example of this is the VR film 11 11, presented at SXSW. The film tells the story of six characters who have to escape from the planet in 10 minutes. The viewer can choose to be one of the six characters and enjoy the story from the character’s point of view.


    Virtual YouTuber, SE:A, is the talk of the town. She was first created for game promotion but has continued to be uploaded and now presents other content. (left) ©Smilegate “Virtual Monster,” a YouTube video channel that reflects a Korean worldview through the use of Korean characters, like the Korean goblin and nine-tailed fox. (right) ©Sandbox Network

    Poster (above) and scene (below) from the 4DX movie Remembering First Love, which combines VR and 4D effects. The production process required the actors to film the scene and then wear a VR headset to check the filmed footage. ©Locus

    The rise of the virtual YouTuber through real-time 3D rendering technology

    A virtual YouTuber is a virtual character that hosts an online show. The broadcaster creates the character and dubs it by using a program such as Motion Capture. The character mimics the broadcaster’s actions and mouth movements. More than anything, a virtual YouTuber must have real-time 3D rendering technology as its foundation. That is why the wide bandwidth and fast speed of 5G is so essential.

    The top Japanese virtual YouTuber, Kizuna AI, has 2.4 million subscribers. She is so popular internationally that she was appointed tourism ambassador by the Japan National Tourism Organization. In Korea, SE:A has gained popularity as a virtual YouTuber. She was originally created for game promotion, but she quickly gained popularity as she began being used for various contents such as daily vlogs and Q&A videos.

    Sandbox Network was the first local mobile MCN (multi-channel network) to launch a YouTube channel featuring a virtual YouTuber. The channel, named “Virtual Monster” tells the story of two alien characters—Do Chabi, the goblin, and Ho Yori, the nine-tailed fox—as they move to and live on Earth to escape the world of the demons. The channel is different from other VTuber (virtual YouTuber) channels in that it reflects a Korean worldview.

    Last March, Google presented its cloud gaming service Stadia. (left) ©Google In response, Sony also entered the cloud gaming service arena with the release of PlayStation Now. ©Sony

    Play anytime, anywhere… The increasing popularization of games

    We are now entering an era in which high-capacity, high-resolution games can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere without a PC or console. Previously, a high-capacity game program had to be installed on a device like a PC or console before it could be played. That is why, for gaming, devices had to have a high capacity, and mobile phones, which are relatively low in capacity, weren’t suitable for high-quality games.

    In the era of 5G mobile communications, game programs can be saved in a cloud, and high-quality games can be enjoyed even on low-capacity mobile phones. Sony’s popular console, the PlayStation 4 is about KRW 400,000 and its VR package costs about KRW 1 million. A gaming computer typically costs about KRW 1.5 million. The launch of 5G mobile communication can create a world where it is no longer necessary to purchase expensive devices to play high-quality games.

    Last March, Google launched its cloud gaming service Stadia, which allows gamers to enjoy games at 4k resolution and 60 frames per second anytime, anywhere. Through Stadia, gamers can play games and even share their player status with other people. Sony also provides cloud gaming services with PlayStation Now and recently formed a partnership with Microsoft.

    5G mobile communication was used during the bobsled race at last year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. ©2018 PyeongChang Olympics Organizing Committee

    Change in unidirectional viewpoint… Real-time live broadcast with low latency

    Last year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games featured a true real-time live broadcast. For this special broadcast, 5G mobile communication was used to deliver the data from a camera attached to a bobsled to viewers in real time.

    If we assume that the bobsled is moving at a speed of approximately 100 km, we can calculate that the sled moves 27 m per 1 second. LTE has a delay time of 0.03–0.05 seconds, which means that the initial footage reaches the viewer after the sled has already moved an additional 0.81 m–1.35 m. In other words, the sled the viewer is watching has actually moved 1.35 m farther in real life at the actual race. 5G mobile technology, on the other hand, has a delay time of 0.001 seconds, which means that the real-life sled outpaces the sled seen by the viewer by only 2.7 cm. Overall, even when accounting for a slight margin of error, there is almost no difference felt between the viewed footage and the events happening at the real-life race.

    5G broadcasts also offer: 360-degree viewing through the use of cameras installed at different angles; slow-motion viewing of important scenes or events; the viewing of multiple broadcasts all at once; and the viewing of athlete footage. Previously, these types of contents were only available for viewing after footage was edited at the completion of a competition. However, with the use of 5G mobile communication, which delivers high-capacity, high-speed data with ultra-low latency, viewers can enjoy all of these features in real time.

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2019-07-16 View : 25
  • 2018 STARTUP:CON report

    2018 STARTUP:CON report

    The word ‘agile’ is often associated with startups. The survival strategy of many startups is to come up with ideas that larger companies – which own most of the ‘pie’ in the market – have overlooked to pierce into the needs of consumers. The small scale and flexible operating method of startups is a strength that enables them to quickly adapt to various market situations that change ever-rapidly, while also allowing them to be more resourceful. The fact that large conglomerates admit the limitations of their strict organizational features and race to partner up with ‘unicorns’ in various industries proves that the independent strengths and values that are difficult for them to pursue can be found in startups.

    Startups also move the fastest and work the hardest at the contact point between ICT and contents. Everyone expected that the various ICT technologies would diversify and expand the world of contents at unprecedented speeds, but it is startups that actually race to come up with new ideas and dive into the market. Based on radical challenges like these, Uber and Airbnb opened new horizons in the transportation and lodging industry, and there is a high possibility that startups will be the companies that open up a never-before-imagined world of new contents.

    To lay the groundwork for a unicorn in the contents sector to appear, the Korea Creative Content Agency once again held STARTUP:CON this year. A glimpse into a new world of contents that will open, spearheaded by startups, could be seen at STARTUP:CON that was held at the Dongdaemun DDP CREA Hall from November 19 to 20. The goal of this STARTUP:CON was to share successful cases achieved through the ‘connection’ of different fields, and to help domestic startups find new success models. There were three key speakers for the conference. Dan Goods, Fabien Riggall and Robbie Baxter inspire the entire world through their unparalleled ideas and innovative attempts in their fields of visual design, cinema, and business. These three speakers shared their unique experiences with the audience at STARTUP:CON.

    NASA ‘Visual Strategist’ Dan Goods

    -Importance of sharing clear ideas

    Dan Goods, the first speaker, is an industrial design artist and a self-made success story who was employed by NASA. His official position was ‘visual strategist’ – a position that did not even exist at NASA before Mr. Goods was recruited. At the NASA think tank JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab), Dan Goods worked with colleagues from different backgrounds and majors including advertising and anthropology to help the space scientists and engineers at NASA to organize their thoughts and draw a picture of their future mission. The team used a number of creative methods to share that picture with colleagues and outside figures more clearly.

    The reason why this process is so important is because it is only when it is possible to fully convey the importance of a project to outsiders that you can start the exploration on the right foot. Even if a group consists of scientists at NASA, they have different fields and majors, so it is difficult for them to understand what each other is saying. Conveying ideas becomes even more important when you are talking to a major decision-maker at NASA. Goods said, “NASA is like a city filled with scientists and engineers. They want their ideas to be chosen for the next project – it’s as if they were businessmen.”

    As well, Goods has worked on various projects to share the achievements of NASA with the outside world using various visual and audio artwork. Goods said that it is very important to make people outside of their fields to understand the projects and receive feedback. He advised: “If you are starting up a business, you should have a person next to you who has different expertise and views from you.”

    Founder of ‘Secret Cinema’, Fabien Riggall

    -Creativity that elevates cinema into experiences

    The second speaker, Fabien Riggall, is an entrepreneur who succeeded by starting a unique cinema screening business called ‘Secret Cinema’ in the UK 12 years ago. What makes Secret Cinema special is that it reinterprets movies from a completely different perspective to create new value.

    During his speech, Mr. Riggall explained his business model using the example of Star Wars, which attracted the biggest audience (over 100,000) among the films screened by Secret Cinema. First, when a customer buys a ticket for around KRW 70,000, an email with a new virtual identity and secret code is sent to the customer. The email contains information on where and when the movie will be screened, and it also explains in detail what kind of clothes to wear to the screening. Customers who receive this email now begin a sort of a role-play.

    The screening location is decorated just like the world in the movie. For example, during Star Wars, the venue was based on the motif of Planet Tatooine. Secret Cinema does a lot of work to create this type of space. They even hired the London Olympics stage production team to install a life-sized X-Wing (the fighter plane in Star Wars) model. This is deeply related to the fundamental goal of Secret Cinema. Riggall explained that when he watched movies at movie theaters as a child, he was so immersed in the movie that he could barely distinguish between the world on the silver screen and the real world. He said that his long-time wish of ‘wanting to exist inside movies’ led him to start up Secret Cinema.

    The audience that arrives at the designated place dresses up like the characters in the movie to have a completely new experience. The entire time of the experience, including the actual film, can take up to seven hours. The contents of the experience change completely depending on the story of the movie. Riggall said that he wanted to add a social meaning to this experience. “I was influenced by the French idea that public art can change society. For this reason, we wanted to implant thoughts about the world in the audience. For example, when we screened One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, we gave our audience the experience of a mental ward. During The Battle of Algiers, we made the audience continuously feel the problems with terrorism, which is constantly talked about by the press. For The Shawshank Redemption, we offered an experience in prison to ask the audience whether the judicial system and prisons meet their social goals.

    Riggall advised that it is necessary to take a new approach when thinking about the future of entertainment and marketing. He said, “When movies first started, it was a type of experience and event of screening a film. Beautifully decorated movie theaters became symbols, as the ‘church of culture’.

    People dressed up and gathered at theaters and they enjoyed not only the movies, but also social experiences. My goal is to recreate this in our present times. The future of entertainment in my opinion is ‘freedom,’ where the walls between buildings and walls between media crumble. Based on this, we attempted a new way of marketing to penetrate into the daily lives of audiences. Today’s consumers do not react to normal marketing strategies.” He recommended actively thinking outside of the box when approaching consumers.

    Author of The Membership Economy, Robbie Baxter

    -Sharing and Subscription to Membership

    Robbie Baxter’s book The Membership Economy, a global hit, was also quite popular in Korea. In The Membership Economy, Baxter claims that there was a limitation to the sharing and subscription economy, which was a global issue for startups, and proposed the ‘membership economy’ as a solution.

    According to Baxter, the membership economy has some similarities with the sharing economy and the subscription economy, but it is completely different in several essential ways. First, the key to the subscription economy depends on the construction of a pricing model. The ultimate goal of the subscription economy is to make customers continuously pay a fee for access to their desired service or experience. Next, the sharing economy is a model that allows customers to share their assets or resources with others. One well-known example of the subscription economy in Korea is the lodging app, Airbnb. Instead of offering its own lodging sites, it offered its customers to trade their residential areas with others for lodging. Customers trade each other’s assets and not the assets of Airbnb, but they believe that they used the services of Airbnb. Baxter summarized, “The feature of the sharing economy is to make assets that are owned by customers appear to be assets owned by the company.”

    On the other hand, the membership economy can be more like a shared economy or more like a subscription economy depending on the type of industry. The key is strategies to use resources or how ‘relationships with customers’ are configured, rather than price policies. Baxter explained, “The membership economy basically focuses on creating a long-term relationship with customers. In membership economies, regardless of what type of business decision is made, companies must take into consideration how the customers will understand and perceive that decision. By focusing on the genuineness of long-term relationships, customers will voluntarily become ‘members’ of the company and maintain relationships with you permanently instead of looking for alternatives.”

    If you wish to configure a membership economy model as a startup, you should select customers to target, start the business in a narrow spectrum, identify the most valuable customer base and come up with services that they will need for a lifetime. It is also necessary to come up with a strategy to keep those customers permanently. Ms. Baxter also stated, “Ultimately, the key to the membership economy is how customers of the business are treated.”

    Baxter gave especially good advice for startups in the contents industry when applying the membership economy. She said, “All content businesses must create services that customers will ‘happily pay for,” and added, “You are more likely to succeed by selecting a specific group of consumers and picking an item that they will be highly interested in. Using the media as an example, you can find that the subscription rate of media that specializes in a specific type of news is much higher than other types of media. Consumers are more likely to have the will to purchase when the focus is both narrower and deeper.”

    Article by Reporter Bang Seung-eon (earny00@gmail.com)

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2018-12-20 View : 36
  • Amuse Travel, a Travel Agency for the Disabled

    Amuse Travel, a Travel Agency for the Disabled

    The disabled experience many physical limitations in movement compared to the able-bodied. One of them is in the area of travel. Amuse Travel believes that the disabled and the able-bodied alike should be able to travel without discrimination, which is why they are developing specialized travel packages for the disabled.

    A travel agency for the disabled, Amuse Travel was created in October 2016, and has just passed its second anniversary since its foundation. More than 1,000 disabled people have traveled domestically and internationally using Amuse Travel over the past two years. Amuse Travel is also working on a business to attract foreign disabled tourists to Korea. Over 100 foreigners now have visited Korea through Amuse Travel. Initially, Amuse Travel earned about KRW 10 million, but now its revenue amount has grown to about KRW 400 million won. Amuse Travel CEO Oh Seo-yeon said that there are growing number of customers seeking out Amuse Travel, and satisfaction is also rising.

    Oh Seo-yeon said that she became interested in the human rights of the disabled while working as a volunteer overseas in 2008. One disabled person that she met back then said, “I think it would be so relaxing to travel,” and so Ms. Oh came up with the idea of creating a travel agency targeting the disabled. Ms. Oh said, “I knew I couldn’t create a better infrastructure for the disabled – I can’t just go everywhere and install elevators, for example – but I believed that I could help people travel.” After participating in the Idea Fusion Factory, a program for preliminary startup entrepreneurs that is sponsored by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), Ms. Oh became confident about her idea for a travel agency for the disabled. She moved into the venture complex made by KOCCA in October 2016 and jumped into the world of startups.

    Travel by the disabled is no different than for the able-bodied

    Even though CEO Oh said that she couldn’t build social infrastructures, after Amuse Travel was created, restrooms for the disabled were built in a building that previously did not have such restrooms. Ms. Oh said, “There was no restroom for the disabled before Amuse Travel moved into this building, but now there is.” With more people visiting Amuse Travel in wheelchairs, a ramp was also made at the building entrance for easier access by wheelchair. Oh said, “This is exactly the role that I hoped Amuse Travel would play.”

    The same applies for tourism destinations. Amuse Travel claims that there are no differences in the tour activities pursued by the disabled and the able-bodied. Disabled tourists want to go to the same places as the able-bodied, and some intentionally choose places that many able-bodied people visit. In Seoul, many look to go to Namsan (Mt.) or take a cruise on the Han River. There also travel packages to Japan and Europe offered by Amuse Travel. Oh believes improvements in infrastructure can only be made after we become more familiar with the existence of the disabled. “I have no intention to make a course only for the disabled.” Here, Amuse Travel’s position is solid.

    One of Amuse Travel’s strengths is in planning tours based on the location of restrooms for the disabled and reserving restaurants that are easily accessible by wheelchair. While it is possible to ride a cable car up a mountain, customers who cannot get to the peak in a wheelchair are offered a view of the summit through videos. There are also travel packages based on ‘senses’ so that visually impaired customers can enjoy traveling using their other senses, such as hearing and smell.

    We asked CEO Oh what she considered to be the hardest thing in doing this business. After a long while, she said that the most difficult thing was the wall between the disabled and the able-bodied. “It seems like they don’t know each other (yet).” She went on to add, “It would be great if we could just concentrate on business, but there are many times where interests conflict.” This made me think about society’s perceptions of the disabled.

    The goal: Independent travel for the disabled

    Amuse Travel, which is now in its third year, is dreaming another dream. It wans to shift from tourism market focusing on travel packages to allowing the disabled to travel independently. Though it is still in its early development stage, is working on navigation services for wheelchairs by collecting road-view data. Its goal is to summarize paths that can be taken by wheelchairs and restaurants that are accessible so that the disabled can also travel independently. There will be a continuous increase in demand among the disabled to travel independently, so Ms. Oh believes that it would be foolish to only offer travel packages. While a transportation solution for the disabled that is being built using machine-learning still has an accuracy level of only 30%, Amuse Travel is working on increasing accuracy to further advance the service. Oh said, “Amuse Travel is not yet perfect. We are still in our development stage.” She added, “It hurts the most when people say that I’m making money off the disabled when the services are not even completely constructed.” She emphasized, “At this stage, it is impossible to create services that will allow the disabled to travel all across the country.” Asked if she had any closing comments, CEO Oh said, “We spend a lot more money on development than what we make.” She added, “Amuse Travel is actively growing, so I hope that many people will support us.” Will Amuse Travel be able to overcome the ‘Death Valley’ of startups that tends to begin after the third year of business and continue its growth? I hope that this small startup, whose each and every step is meaningful, survives.

    Article by OhmyNews Reporter Yoo Ji-young (alreadyblues@gmail.com)

    Writer : KOCCA Date : 2018-12-20 View : 11
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