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CJ CGV head vows to raise Korean cinema’s profile abroad

Dec 08,2018
Choi Byung-hwan, the newly-appointed CEO of Korea’s largest multiplex theater chain CJ CGV, vowed to raise Korean cinema’s competitiveness and reputation across the globe.

At a media forum held in central Seoul on Thursday, Choi, who assumed the position in October, said that the film industry is facing rapid changes both inside and outside the country, and stressed the need to be able to adapt to the changing environment.

“The peak seasons for the cinema industry are winter and summer vacation seasons,” said Choi. “Holidays were also the time when cinemas performed well. That, however, has changed, and we are now competing against overseas trips rather than other competing cinemas. We will have to think of methods to keep audience members in front of screens.”

Choi also mentioned the rising threat from video on demand and over-the-top services.

“Netflix’s performance in the third quarter shows that its number of subscribers has exceeded 130 million. … Since long before that, there have been signs of changes in the way viewers consume content, and there have been major changes [in the content industry] that are shaking overall media consumption. ... Korea has the fifth highest-grossing film market in the world, and it is our job to mull over ways to strengthen the country’s cinematic reputation,” Choi said.

At the forum, Lee Seung-won, head of the customer market team at CJ CGV, spoke about the importance of introducing movies that tell unique stories or themes to seize the hearts of local viewers.

“Audience members in their 20s [who account for the largest number of ticket sales along with those in their 30s] chose to watch movies with unique themes,” Lee said. “In that sense, Korean cinema [has to] find new trends [instead of repeating past successes].”

Fan culture has also grown to become an important factor in determining a movie’s success.

“‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a story about [British rock band] Queen. Though audience members in their 20s did not grow up listening to the band’s music, they [became fans of the band] and accounted for the highest amount of ticket sales.”

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]