Drama productions v Broadcasting companies

Drama market in Korea is big.  That’s for sure.  Example) The overall cost of production for Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi (태왕사신기) is said to be about 40 billion won (somewhere around $40 million).   Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi was made by Kim Jong Hak Production, a producing company lead by former MBC drama director.

And it seems that there is an association of drama producing companies, which is the Drama Producer Association (of Korea).  Major members include Kim Jong Hak Production (김종학프로덕션), Cho Rok Baem Media (초록뱀미디어), Sam Hwa Networks (삼화네트웍스).  They had a press conference today and pledged for fair contractual relationship with broadcasting companies.  News Article here.

Drama producers are in weak bargaining position against broadcasting companies.  Broadcasting companies have allegedly used their leverage to draft allegedly unfair contract with producing companies.

For example, producers start shooting dramas after getting 40 to 60% of the contracted price.  In return for the contract, broadcasting companies have the copyrights, rights on derivative works, transmission rights, reproduction right, and all sales rights on all types of copyrighted works in and about the drama.  Plus, after 3 years from the production, the broadcasting companies take all the rights.  Hence, the producers get nothing after 3 years.

The Drama Producer Association claims that the more drama they make, the more money they lose.  If this is true, it can be a trust and an unfair practices.  (I’m not sure why they have to keep making dramas while they lose money from it.)

I haven’t had a chance to look at the broadcasting company-producer contract in Korea.  But I won’t be surprised to face a severely one-sided  contract.

As a no-TV-in-my-room guy, I don’t care too much about whether the drama productions go bankrupt and I might never see a drama produced by a Korean.  But, I’m very interested in unfair practices.  We will see whether this press conference moves the rock an inch.


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