Centre for Content Promotion


Korean Film Industry Generated USD 18.45 Billion in 2018

From MPA — 12 Dec 2019

SEOUL / SINGAPORE  The film and television industry generated a total economic contribution of USD 18.45 billion (51,181 Won) in 2018, an estimated 241% growth compared to a similar report researched in 2015[1], according to new research by Oxford Economics. The report also found that the industry supported a total of 315,400 jobs, and a total tax contribution of USD 5.69 billion (6,260 Won). The direct contribution of the sector accounts for 0.4% of South Korea’s total GDP.

The report was launched on December 12 during the 2019 COA International Copyright Seminar, held at the Grand Hilton Seoul. The event follows the September announcement by the Korean Government of its plans to further stimulate the local content sector as it transitions to 5G connectivity. The Government is hopeful to meet the potential of the Hallyu (Korean Wave) export market, building on the USD 13.4 billion in export sales to the rest of the world.

Presenting the report, Bo Son, General Manager MPA Korea, said, “Many countries have looked to Korea as a case study in how best to coordinate the effective promotion and protection of the film and television industry. Our export business is held in high regard, while our strong copyright law and robust content protection methods are recognized as being global best practice to ensure the ongoing growth of our content industry. However, the sector remains under threat from piracy, and threatens jobs and the ability for the industry to achieve its full potential.”

The Copyright Overseas Promotion Association (COA) added, “As the popularity of Korean content increases daily, the ‘Hallyu Wave’ of Korean movies, TV shows, drama, music, and cartoons continues to spread globally. MPA’s presentation of the data by Oxford Economics shows how critical it is to prevent piracy of our content exports”.

With the growing prominence of the Korean industry, Jung-Seok Kim, Executive Director of the Korean Film Digital Distribution Association (KFDA), recognized that, “In order to continue to expand the ‘commercial pie’ of Korean films, we must continue to build partnerships with global entities to unite on best practices and protection of our markets.”

Movie Producer, MPA APSA Academy Film Fund jury member, and current Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) & Seoul International Women’s film Festival (SIWFF) Executive Committee Member, Young Kim, also stressed that, “Piracy prevention and global partnerships ensure an environment in which those who are creating and producing new and brave stories are able to fulfil their potential and vision to the fullest”.

Key statistics from The Economic Contribution of the Film and Television Industries in South Korea in 2018 include:

                                                                                Total Contribution (billions)          Direct Contribution (billions)


Economic contribution of film & TV           USD 18.45           51,181 Won        USD 7.53              25,120 Won

Tax                                                                        USD 5.69            6,260 Won       USD 4.18                4,600 Won

Employment                                                       315,400                                                78,010

The film and TV industries make a significant direct impact to the economy of South Korea. Businesses working directly in the combined film and television industries made a contribution to South Korean GDP worth 8,280 billion Won in 2018. Out of this, the film industry made a contribution worth 2,050 billion Won and television contributed 6,000 billion Won, with over-the-top (OTT) distribution contributing 240 billion Won.

In 2018, the South Korean film and television industries supported 78,010 jobs through their direct operations. The film industry component of this employed 34,600 people, primarily through film exhibition—mainly in cinemas, which employed 19,370 people directly. Television employed a total of 43,140 people directly, with cable television making up nearly half of this (20,940 jobs). Activities of OTT distributors directly employed 270 people.

The film and television industries’ direct contribution to GDP amounted to 0.4% of the total South Korean economy in 2018. This makes the combined sector similar in size to the manufacturing of precision instruments (10,030 billion Won, or 0.5% of the economy). It is larger than livestock agriculture (6,110 billion Won, 0.3%) and the supply of gas and air conditioning (5,680 billion Won, 0.3%), and significantly larger than mining and quarrying extraction (2,250 billion Won, 0.1%).

Large multiplier effects generate a significant overall economic impact. The impact of the film and television industries extends far beyond their direct activities, however. In 2018, Oxford Economics found that the industries generated a total contribution to GDP worth 20,300 billion Won in South Korea. Alongside the direct impact detailed above, purchases of goods and services throughout the industries’ domestic supply chains were responsible for an ‘indirect’ impact worth 6,800 billion Won.

View and download the Full 2018 Korea ECR Report here.

View and download the 2018 Korea ECR Infographic (USD version) here.

View and download the 2018 Korea ECR Infographic (Korean Won version) here.

Access photos from the event here.