Government pledges $1.5 million investment fund, tax cuts for video content makers

First Vice Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Jeon Byung-geuk, center, speaks during a press conference held at the CJ ENM Studio Center in Paju, Gyeonggi, on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

The Korean government promised a $1.5 million investment fund and tax cuts for video content makers so that K-content can continue the success of films and series such as “Squid Game,” “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” and “Decision to Leave,” in a press conference held in Paju on Tuesday.

First Vice Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Jeon Byung-geuk attended the press conference and gave a presentation on the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s five-year long-term plan for fostering more vibrant and diverse video content.

“We are a culturally attractive country and this is driven by our content makers,” said Jeon in the press conference. “These days, Korean content is receiving more global attention to the extent that there is a saying that goes, ‘If it was made in Korea, we will watch it.’ Our films and dramas have been awarded at global venues such as Cannes and the Emmys. We need to keep fostering video content and work across organizations to increase growth in the industry.”

The Korean OTT market was valued at 1.8 trillion won ($1.4 billion) as of last year, said Jeon. The Yoon government also plans to fix the low rate of written contracts within the film and drama industry so that the current 52.5 percent rate increases in the future. The goal is to rid the industry of unfair contracts and exploitation.

The culture ministry promised a report will be filed every year starting in 2023 on the status of labor relations within the video content industry, to ensure that not only actors, directors and writers are given equal opportunities and fair treatment, but also that stuntmen, staff and crew members are guaranteed more artistic choices and allowance.

“The economic value generated through dramas such as ‘Squid Game’ are incomparable,” said Jeon during the press conference Tuesday. “It cannot be imitated by any other country.”

Jeon and the culture ministry also promised a 1.5-billion-won prize for a contest which anyone can enter that seeks ideas and themes in video content making. A separate fund of 66.6 billion won for intellectual property ownership will be also established by next year.

Kim Tae-ryong of the Korea Broadcasting Image Production Association also spoke at the press conference Tuesday, stressing that there is a need to protect and nurture the youngest and most vulnerable staff members who work for minimum wages on the sets of films and dramas within the industry.

“Not all of us can be intellectual property owners,” said Kim. “And we need to find a way to go forward together despite that challenge.”