The Gwangju ACE Fair 2017 which is a content and entertainment fair of Asia was held from 21-24 September in South Korea. It had its venue at Kimdaejung Convention Centre, Gwangju, Korea. The exhibits were of broadcast, audiovisual, gaming, animation, character, edutainment and all types of licensing content.
The programs included exhibition, global cultural content licensing, meeting,
international forum and seminar and special events. Ministry of culture, sports and tourism of Korea, Gwangju metropolitan city was the organiser. Touted as the biggest cultural content marketplace in Korea, there were 1:1 business meeting with international and domestic buyers and exhibitors. In 2016, there were 2,156 meetings. First two days had B2B activities while the last two days had B2C events. International Forum and Seminar included various academic forums and seminars of the new culture trend.
There were also various events for spectators like VR(Virtual Reality) pavilion, board game competition, cosplay etc.The exhibition hall exhibited CATV content, animation content, character licensing, edutainment, mobile, IT, VR(virtual reality) pavilion, licensing plaza, international symposium, special and fringe events.
Animation Xpress Team was present in the event and we got an overview of everything.
On day one, the mayor and commissioner of Gwangju met selected business leaders personally from Korea and other countries over tea during the morning time. Thereafter, they visited the leading exhibitors from Korean broadcast. This was followed by an inaugural address. After this, the guests were invited for a welcome lunch with the tradition of starting something with red wine. The meetings between the buyers and sellers started from 9 am. These were pre-arranged and very well organised. The complete schedule was printed properly and the interpreters helped in translating.
Our team spoke to Sushil Bhasin from Bhasin studios, Bangalore who is also the president of Media and Entertainment Association of India (MEAI).
What do you think about this event?
Sushil: This ACE market in Gwangju, Korea is very promising especially when we want to target the effective market. Lot of countries like China, Vietnam, Singapore etc. all come here and write about content. Yesterday, we had 12 meetings out of which 10 were really interesting ones, which is a really good figure for us. We have also garnered a lot of interests from many companies. Apart from selling content, we got other opportunities like selling services and co-production. These are quite popular here. Hence, we are looking keenly into these markets.
He added, “The arrangements by the organisers are commendable because the meetings sailed through smoothly, and were strategically arranged. The buyers who have come here, have come with great seriousness. And also, there are buyers from all over the world. Out of the 12 meetings yesterday, only one was with a Korean, the rest were with delegates from various parts of the world.The present day is also going well. The market is really good in terms of buying as well as selling contents.”
Do you have any expectations from the market for the rest of the day?
Sushil: Yes, absolutely! We expect to receive some services as well, just like yesterday. And not only from Korean market, we also expect visitors from various other places as well. Namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Brazil and a lot more places. This is my third year at Gwangju and in those three years, we have developed delegations for visiting this market. We have managed to pull in around 10-12 companies and have done good business.
“I got good connections,” said Rocksalt Interactive’s Deepak Jadhav. “I met some of my previous clients from Turkey and Germany here.” For animation co-production, I was not quite happy but for gaming I was definitely benefitted,” he exclaimed.
“Rocksalt is full-fledged into gaming and when I showed my portfolio here, most people were really happy and appreciated the work. I got three concrete leads,” he smiles. “I never expected the market to be so positive. I will visit here again.”
“The market is good, short and focussed,” said Jugnu Kids’ Kamal Pahuja who visited the market for the first time. Positive that his meetings turning out to be good, he is hopeful that his content will be acquired for various languages. “It seems like Asian markets are much better,” he said, sharing that he plans to visit ATF.
“Overall, it’s a beautiful country with amazing people,” he adds. “The staff was very organised and helpful.”
iLO Entertainment (Singapore and India) is a global animation and feature film production, distribution and entertainment company.
iLO Entertainment CEO Rinu Rajasekharan said, “Both the days seemed good.We managed to send some good leads.We like this market. We had fixed up all the meetings beforehand so we were fully packed. This market is structured and focused and one of the best market for us. Buyers come to buy and sellers come to sell. From outside, it might seem small but its quite big.”
iLO Entertainment marketing head Aruna Kumar said, “Clients were coming and meeting us. They were very clear on what they were bringing to the table and what can be expected from them. They were very focussed, to the point and very clear about what they want.It is the best market for eastern belt. We have got a prospective list.People have spoken confidently to work with us. We will surely come back next year.”
On being asked about what kind of projects they were looking for, Aruna Kumar said, “We are looking at co-productions, acquiring IPs, service work and distributions. We already spoke for distribution of our IPs at Sri Lanka.”
Ramesh Meer from Global Content Bazaar said, “We have come here to see if we can get some exhibitors for our show which is “Global Content Bazaar”. It happens every year in January. In such international markets, we find a lot of people who are interested in joining our event. There are some Chinese companies and some Korean companies. I am very sure that half a dozen companies from here will convert successfully. Gwangju ACE fair was very productive for me .”
Vivek Sidhu from Pencillati studio said, “After missing yesterday’s meeting we were not sure of the meetings today but it was arranged later on. MEAI contingent has been very well supported by ACE fair staff. In the last few hours, our meetings have been very efficiently run and are productive. Overall, it was a good event.”
Shambhu Phalke of Anibrain Digital Technologies was present at the event too. On his opinion of the market from the first two days, he says, “I experienced some great work being done in 2D and 3D.I always believed we’d have to do animation first, followed by licensing once the property becomes popular. Here, I have seen companies that do licensing first and only after two to three years of licensing they animate.”
He further adds, “I see these companies working more closely with Indonesia and Malaysia, maybe due to the close proximities, but they haven’t been working with India. If there’s one person who’s able to communicate and also come to India, overcoming the ‘fear’, then it would go a long way in benefiting.”
As Phalke would be the sole representative of Anibrain at Gwangju ACE Fair, he talks about the inability to strike a concrete business. He says, “No concrete business as animation is a huge business and nothing’s ever served on the platter. Here you only get to know, and build on that subsequently.”
Phalke although intents on returning to the fair the following year as well, there’s certain improvisations he’d make in his strategy. “Start-up companies who’re trying to figure out a marketing strategy, ACE is a far better place to be in. And to know what’s happening in the market” he concludes.