This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 6/20/2017


 201420152016 (E)2017 (E)
Total Market Size3,088.843,100.623,103.843,166.19
Total Local Production4,775.774,791.294,801.124,897.14
Total Exports2,391.592,399.422,412.412,460.66
Total Imports704.66708.75715.41729.71
Imports from the U.S.393.11421.55465.67474.98
Exchange Rate:

Source: Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), Korea Film Council (KOFIC); 
Unit:  USD million.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects


Market Share of Films by Country
2016 53.741.
        Source: Korea Film Council (KOFIC); Unit = %
The total number of moviegoers in South Korea in 2016 was over 217 million, surpassing the 200 million viewer mark for the fifth year in a row.  At the same time, the market share of Korean films has increased to 53.7 percent (approximately 116.4 million viewers), from 52.2 percent in 2015.  Foreign films accounted for over 46 percent and the number of viewers was approximately 104 million.  Overall, South Korean consumers watched an average of 4.2 films in 2016, which is one of highest numbers in the world.
In 2016, 373 Korean films were produced and 302 films were released.  Likewise, 1,526 foreign films were imported and rated and 1,218 were released.  Although the number of screens is limited to 2,575 per year, imported content is increasing due to competition among various entertainment content platforms, such as IPTV, digital cable, and the fact that there is not enough locally-produced content to cover the demands of all platforms.
Number of Korean Films Produced, Foreign Films Imported, and Total Films
 Korean FilmsForeign FilmsTotal films released
# of films produced# of films released# of films imported# of films released
Source: Korea Film Council (KOFIC)
Growth of Digital On-Line Market
Digital on-line services, including IPTV/cable TV VoD (video on demand), and Internet VoD, which make it possible for viewers to watch content anytime and anywhere, is experiencing explosive growth in South Korea.  The market demand for the digital on-line market in 2016 is estimated US$355.3 million, a 23.2 percent increase over 2015.  In 2016, cumulative subscribers of digital services were 23.59 million, composed of 13.92 million for IPTV and 9.67 million for cable.  The total number of cable TV subscribers has been decreasing by around one percent annually, while the number of subscribers switching to digital services has been steadily increasing.
The growth of the digital on-line market was led by IPTV VoD and digital cable TV VoD in 2016.  The three IPTV service providers, KT, SKT and LGU+, dominated most of the VoD market.  In 2016, both IPTV and cable TV recorded sales for films of USD304.36 million which represents over 85 percent of the total IPTV and cable TV digital on-line sales.
The share of TV VoD is increasing considerably year after year.  Although VoD consumers prefer box office hits, the popularity of films in the VoD market is not exactly the same as at the box office.  The price of the content and the genre are equally important.  The price of films released at the same time as in the cinema is approximately USD10.  It drops to around USD4 within a year after cinema release, and decreases even further after that.
The rapid growth of the VoD TV market is leading to change in the Korean film industry.  Even if the films were released in the cinema, the director’s cuts and other value-added versions cannot be shown at the same time the films are released.  Digital on-line service can provide additional attractions, such as director’s cut, extended version, and one can even download content for personal possession.
VoD market growth provides various opportunities to the film industry.  Certain niche genres which do not get attention from the cinemas have more opportunities to be released.  More diverse filmmakers, importers, and distributors are entering the film market in Korea, which reflects this trend.  According to one industry expert, there are more examples of VoD releases which are never even released in cinemas, making profits.  Further, he expects that there will be noticeable changes in the areas of film production and distribution in coming years.  This presents good opportunities for U.S. content providers which offer both diversity of content and box office hits.   


Trade Shows
Busan International Film Festival
Busan Contents Market
Asian Film Market (delegation from South Korea expected)
Trade Associations & Government
Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning
Korea Communications Commission
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Korea Creative Content Agency
Korea Cable TV Association
Korea Film Council
Ms. Alex Choi
Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service
U.S. Embassy Seoul

Tel: (82-2) 397-4466
Fax: (82-2) 739-1628

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South Korea Media and Entertainment Trade Development and Promotion