SEOUL: Southeast Asian countries are emerging as a new market for Korean broadcasting content, in line with the government’s aggressive foreign policy initiative called the New Southern Policy, which gained momentum via a South Korea-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) special summit in Busan last month.

The region can provide a breakthrough for the Korean pop culture industry, which has taken a serious hit in its major market, China, since Seoul deployed a US missile defence system, called THAAD, on its soil in 2016 despite Beijing’s strong objection, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

Beijing still shows no sign of easing its overt retaliatory steps against Korean pop culture, especially against TV dramas and entertainment programmes, movies and entertainers.

In recent days, however, the exchange of broadcasting content and production between South Korea and Southeast Asian nations are noticeably increasing owing to the long-held popularity of Korean pop culture, known as the Korean Wave, or “hallyu” in Korean.

The Universal Asset Global, a South Korean hallyu investment company, successfully completed a preview of a pilot episode of TV drama “Safety Zone,” which it has jointly produced with the Indonesian police agency amid great public attention in the Southeast Asian country.

Channel 3, Thailand’s first commercial TV network, shot its new drama “Prao Mook” at locations in Daegu, some 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul and neighbouring ancient city of Gyeongju early last month under a trilateral agreement with the local governments. The drama will air in Thailand early next year.

In the Philippines, Nancy, a member of popular South Korean girl group MOMOLAND, was chosen as the heroine of “Soulmate Project”, a series being made by Filipino broadcaster ABS-CBN. She stars opposite top-class Filipino-Australian actor James Reid. More than 100 local news organisations reported her casting.

SBS-TV’s “Running Man”, a long-running variety show, recently held a successful fan meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where some 10,000 fans swarmed the event. The show, with a unique competition-oriented format and line-up of hilarious show members, was remade by a Vietnamese TV network.

MBC-TV’s drama “Extraordinary You”, which ended late last month, posted 62-per cent and 51-per cent audience ratings in Singapore and Malaysia, respectively.

South Korean producers’ entry into local production are also mounting.

“We support and direct local production, as local content makers lack skills somewhat, which subsequently leads to a bigger interest in hallyu and the development of local contents,” South Korean producer Kang Moo-sung, who has set up a production in Indonesia, said.

Joint content projects between South Korea and Asean nations are on the increase thanks to increasing content demand in the region, he added. – Bernama

Photo combo: Youtube