Digital Transformation of Performing Arts and Establishment of Distribution Platform

Republic of Korea
Seoul Arts Center, National Theater of Korea, National Theater Company of Korea
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 
As the COVID-19 pandemic has added significant restrictions and difficulties to art activities such as face-to-face performances and exhibitions, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has tried to expand support for new ways of non-face-to-face art by breaking away from fixed frames and inertia through the digital transformation and distribution platform of the performing arts. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced the 「Measures to support non-face-to-face arts in daily life of COVID-19」(Sep 2020) to respond to the crisis in the performing arts industry after the COVID-19 pandemic, investing 3.15 Billion Won in 2021 for a video recording and documentation project of the outstanding performances of Seoul Arts Center, National Theater of Korea, and The National Theater Company of Korea. Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the Seoul Arts Center has launched SAC on Screen (hereinafter referred to as SoS) in 2013, which is a video recording and documentation project for performances and exhibition content of the Seoul Arts Center, under the slogan of ‘Better than a VIP seat’. Through the Korea Culture and Arts Center Association and the Overseas Culture Promotion Agency, the project distributes videos of opera, ballet, classical music, music, theater, modern dance, musicals, and exhibitions free of charge domestically and abroad in order to expand cultural opportunities for residents, and to bridge the cultural gap between Seoul and other provinces. In Korea, the videos were distributed to art centers, cinemas, libraries, and schools nationwide. In overseas, the films are screened at Korean cultural centers in about 10 countries including Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. The Seoul Arts Center has maintained free distribution as part of cultural welfare for the underprivileged. However after COVID-19, the video recording and documentation of performances have attracted attention as a new profit model. Around 2019, the Seoul Arts Center has been attempting paid screenings. Accordingly, the musical was screened in New York, the United States, and Tokyo, Japan. In Korea, it was screened 287 times in 18 Megabox theaters nationwide. Also, by selling performance content such as musical and through LGU+, video content was distributed through new platforms such as IPTV VOD service. In 2021, the Seoul Arts Center produced and screened a variety of convergence content for people to enjoy performing arts more closely. , which embodies soprano Sumi Jo’s vocal performance through AR and 3D sound technology, had 158,287 audience at the Seoul Arts Center and Gwangju Design Biennale. , a concert hall stage of the Seoul Arts Center with VR, and , a combined exhibition of performing arts and media art, were also presented to the audience. Furthermore, the Seoul Arts Center contributed to the overseas expansion of Korean performing arts through the collaboration of King Sejong Institute and the existing performance content distributors to 234 locations in 82 countries. In response to the closure of national and public performance halls due to the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, the National Theater of Korea implemented the ‘Nearest National Theater’ project. Through the National Theater of Korea YouTube channel and NaverTV, the entire live performance of the representation repertoire was streamed online. Further, a 4K UHD high-quality live performance video of the National Theater of Korea was produced and distributed through the collaboration with OTT(Content Wave) and movie theaters(Lotte Cultureworks) in 2021. In addition, the rights to enjoy culture for people with disabilities were expanded by producing and distributing barrier-free performance videos with sign languages, subtitles, and audio commentary. Meanwhile, the National Theater Company of Korea recognized the necessity of video production of performance as a self-rescue measure for the reduced number of theater visitors due to the spread of COVID-19, and for the expansion of profits and eased accessibility of performing arts. Accordingly, the newly appointed art director in 2020 announced a new project to open the National Theater of Korea’s OTT platform ’Online Theater’, which officially became available in November 2021. In particular, some of the contents from the National Theater of Korea’s Online Theater provide barrier-free options such as sign languages, descriptive video service, and subtitles for everyone to enjoy.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 
In 2018, the Seoul Arts Center SoS distributed in 148 locations, screened 889 times, and had 147,349 audience. In 2019, it screened 1,359 times and had by 97,591 audience. In 2020, the number of offline visitors decreased by 90%, while the number of online screenings and real-time streaming users increased significantly, recording 737,621 views through a total of 21 online streams. In 2021, offline screenings resumed, with a total of 625 screenings and 33,978 audiences. The online screening recorded a total of 10,187 views domestically and abroad. In overseas, local-language subtitles were produced and screened in 10 countries in 2018, and 11 countries in 2019 including Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. In 2020, the number of offline screenings was reduced to three countries due to the spread of COVID-19, but 16 artworks were screened in six countries using online platforms. As COVID-19 cases turned to a decline in 2021, the overseas offline screenings were expanded to eight countries with 52 screenings, and online screenings in ten countries with 29 screening. The private companies are also expanding distribution platforms such as cinemas and IPTV VOD services, and enhancing audience access to performance content. In 2019, a total of 278 screening and 13,083 people watched the musical through paid screenings at Megabox nationwide, and a total of 13,003 views in a month through LGU+ IPTV VOD service. The National Theater of Korea screened the entire six performances in 2020, including and , and distributed online performance video contents such as and . As a result, non-face-to-face and online performance contents were had a total of 316,000 views, and the total number of official YouTube subscribers increased by about 4.8 times in 2020. In 2021, the National Theater Company of Korea produced ten high-quality live performance videos, five barrier-free performance videos, and distributed them to Wavve and Lotte Cinema. In addition, and were filmed on SBS Cultural Relay. Consequently, Wavve recorded a total of 15,469 views and Lotte Cinema had a total of 1,148 total audiences. In addition, the National Theater Company of Korea’s Online Theater produced a total of 14 works since its opening in November 2021. It accumulated 1,768 audiences in 2021 and 2,283 audiences in 2022 (as of Aug 26). From the second half of 2022, not only works produced by the National Theater Company of Korea, but also the live performances of excellent performances by other domestic theater groups will be planned and invited to the ‘Online Theater’ platform to promote video recording and documentation business of the theater industry. With the government’s support for the video content production of performances (live filming and online streaming) in 2021, the Arco Online Theater was able to show 40 outstanding performances in the private sector to approximately 180,000 audiences. In order to continue the support for the production of high-quality video content of performances, the government completed the ‘Performance Media Studio, Shilgam’ at the Seoul Arts Center in 2021, which is scheduled to open in 2022.
Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 
3.15 Billion Won, 2.4 Million Dollars /As of 2020
Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Performing Arts
Transversal Priority(ies)