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Jumong a bright spot in media industry gloom

The Chosun recently reported a gloomy picture of the earnings of the Korean film industry. As Jon Pais speculated over at Twitch in November last year,

Even if production costs stabilized, as the number of films increases, decreased profitability is inevitable. But production costs are soaring and don’t show any signs of slowing down. In the first half of 2006, blockbusters aside, 40 films couldn’t even break even. This situation is only likely to worsen in 2007.

The Chosun confirms that picture. In an environment where profitability is uncertain, film investors want bankable stars, which of course boosts production costs further. As is well known in the case of Beyond the Years, even an internationally acclaimed director such as Im Kwon-taek doesn’t have complete control over casting if the money men don’t think the stars are big enough.

Jumong - Prince of the LegendThe Hankyoreh maybe identifies another aspect of the industry’s profitability: more screens, less profit. Looked at another way, a glut of poorer quality films aren’t necessarily going to generate as much revenue per film as a small number of better quality films. And it’s this message which is behind the unpopular viewpoint that the reduction in the screen quota might actually be a good thing for the Korean film industry. Could the free traders be right1?

Meanwhile there is a bright spot for the Korean content industry: the Hanyoreh reports that the period TV drama series Jumong is generating profits to match and probably exceed Dae Jang Geum. Revenues come not only from overseas sales but also from marketing add-ons such as men’s cosmetics (can you imagine a CSI aftershave?). Having learned from the DJG experience,

Experts say that Jumong had projected profits from exports and value-added businesses from its very begining. Dae Jang Geum added such profit-making plans without a prior plan in place.

reports the Hankyoreh. At 81 episodes though, I don’t think I’ll be buying the DVDs any time soon.


  1. Light the blue touch paper and run away… []

7 thoughts on “Jumong a bright spot in media industry gloom

  1. On a not to dissimilar note, the Seoul Metropolitan City Govt has said it will allocate $532,000 in incentives for non-Korean film and television productions. The Seoul Film Commission, will even refund 25 % of production expenses up to $100,000. THey will even provide accomodation and flights for production employees. THat’s not all, this also includes location scouting. Anyone want to go filming in Seoul?

  2. Have just finished watching the Jumong tv miniseries which contains 81 episodes, I can say that it is really a great story all the actors and actresses were perfect for their roles especially Song Il-kook, who played Jumong. I even stayed awake for the whole night watching Jumong. I think I am very much fascinated to Jumong (the actor). I hope someday I can visit Korea and meet the actor Mr. Song Il-kook or he can vist our country, the Philippines. Just wondering if i can have the email address of Mr. Song Il-kook. My Congratulations to the whole cast of Jumong especially to Mr. Song Il-kook. Hope to receive a reply trough my email add.

  3. hi
    the success of jumong is so wonderful. my congrutulation to il gook.
    his acting is so pretty good.i am his great fan. i am excited and intrested in ik gook. after i watching jumong ,he is placed in my mind and heart as
    a hero , it can be never change. i hope you ‘re really like a hero as i think.
    and thank for all of person who support to accomplish JUMONG .and for giving
    me to have happy and worry by watching i hope u will reply my mail
    this is my largest mail is prettylove89@gmail.

  4. hi
    i think so u are very bright person
    and your wife may be very lucky person all around the wold.
    march 15,2008 is the sad day for me.
    this day is your mad day in loving.u will have great pleasant.
    i had great sorrow.
    any way . for me
    love is just to love u .
    you are lay beside of me or not ,important things is
    just to love u forever.
    i ‘m love and miss u like crazy.
    good luck!
    i change prettylove89@gmail .com to
    [email protected] .i am hoping your reply.
    plz, accerdic me as ur great fan.

  5. jumong!!no film in d world greater dan dis..i hope sumday i wil travel to korea..and learn frm your from nigeria.i have a historical story to show to d world.and i need gud director like dat of jumong film,i wish there wil be colaboration with us,soon,in nigeria

  6. I have watched movies in my life but watching jumong has changed my thing. The actors were perfect but my true Hero Is Song I’ll gook I just love him I praised the prouducers for making the movie so real. No movie can beat jumong ever.

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