BCWW stares digital future in the face

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SEOUL -- One of Asia's largest television markets and conferences, Broadcast Worldwide, opened its seventh edition Wednesday, drawing 158 exhibitors from 38 countries.

With Driving Content Evolution in the Digital World as the theme, this year's BCWW, which ends Friday, is putting the spotlight on the future convergence of digital technology and the television medium.

"Digital is at the center of the media industry these days," Korean Broadcasting Commission chairman Cho Chang-hyun said at the BCWW opening. "Digital is making significant progress each year, creating a shift toward viewer participation and content sharing."

Planned by Korean production house Group 8, the Korean Broadcasting Institute, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Korean Broadcasting Commission, BCWW is expected to attract 5,000 participants this year.

Many exhibitors said that while BCWW cannot compare to leading markets such as MIPTV and MIPCOM, it is becoming a regional force. "I am going to be busier than ever this year," said David Taegho Ahn, director of overseas business operations at Korea's MBC-TV. "The market is really growing."

In addition to the market, there is a full slate of conferences and seminars regarding television and new media in Asia, all of which were well attended on the opening day.

At a seminar titled Effective M&A Strategy for Media in the Digital Era, Thomas Fallows, regional head of technology, media and telecom for Asia Pacific Corporate Bank, said that the current problems with the housing market in the U.S. likely would not be a significant problem for the Asian media industry. "In Asia, if you don't need global financing, the local market is still very liquid," Fallows said.

At the same event, Choi Dong-shik, a lawyer for Seoul-based Kim & Chang Law Firm, said that digital will have less effect on the Korean market than general regulatory trends.

"Eventually, the Korean government must follow world trends," Kim said. "Especially because of the free trade agreement Korea signed with the U.S., the Korean government must relax regulations, but it is going to take some time."
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