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In the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Number of ACFM Meetings that Combined Online & Offline Recorded the Best Ever

Dec 20, 2021
  • Writerby Park Hyejin
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Asian Contents & Film Market Report



In the era of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the environment of the film industry has also changed completely. The survival know-how found by global film markets is a ‘hybrid’ method that combines offline and online. The 16th Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM), which was held from October 11 to 14 this year, also chose the ‘hybrid operation’ for the first time, best resulting in a total of more than 1,300 meetings ever.

Participants also recorded a high year-on-year increase. The number of Korean participants who visited the market in person doubled, while the number of overseas participants who participated online also increased 36% compared to 2020. It is no exaggeration to say that we could confirm the global interest in Korean films and content and the explosive business demand through the ACFM result.



Applying Hybrid Method for the First Time

“As a representative content industry event in Korea that is overcoming the Pandemic with the advanced K-quarantine policy, we planned to hold offline events in 2021. However, after considering safe hosting, we decided to hold offline business meetings for domestic participants while having the online market for business sales for overseas participants. In the past two years after the Pandemic, it is true that the entire film industry has become familiar with online businesses. However, there is still a high need and demand for offline meetings where sales companies and buyers meet in person at the site. That's why 2021 ACFM chose a hybrid solution called ‘online & offline hosting.’ Not only Koreans but also overseas participants who completed the vaccination had a very high willingness to participate in the market. However, since we decided that it was still difficult to hold an ordinary event, including overseas participants at the site, we had no choice but to reject their request inevitably.


Nevertheless, 853 companies and 1,479 people from 55 countries participated in the online market, showing a growth of more than 20% compared to 2020. More than 200 companies from 23 countries participated in the online booth. Among them, 94 companies are new participants, and 970 films were counted as a business success. Compared to the previous year, the number of participants who applied for the market badges increased by about 67%, and participating organizations and companies also increased by about 40%.



Buyers’ Interest Scale, 7 Korean Films in Top 10 Online Watching


Another critical factor in the event this year is that ACFM, which first attempted the online market in 2020, has significantly improved the usability of the online system. As the actual business of buying and selling content is carried out in the online market, it has increased online booths for sales companies to promote their films and added efficient functions to the online screening system where buyers can watch various films. As a result, the total number of online screenings was 3,440, an increase of nearly 100% from the previous year.


"ACFM online screening service started in 2011, but after the Pandemic, its usage and interest have soared under the circumstance where people have to watch movies and do business online. This year, the number of viewers and movie watching doubled compared to the previous year, which is a great achievement."



Among the 10 films that recorded the most viewing in ACFM online screening in 2021, 7 films are Korean movies. This is a scale that shows the interest of overseas buyers in Korean films. The film viewed the most the year in ACFM is the Korean film The Apartment with Two Women, directed by Kim Sein. The hot film already won five awards at the Busan International Film Festival 2021, including the New Currents Award, the Actress of the Year Award, the Flash Forward Audience Award, and NETPAC (the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award, etc. In addition, Through My Midwinter and Unframed, a series of short films directed by Korean representative actors Park Jeongmin, Son Sukku, Choi Heeseo, and Lee Jehoon, were ranked in the top three online screening. 


“Especially at ACFM, which is held during the Busan International Film Festival, nearly half of the total screenings of the film festival can be viewed online by not only domestic but also overseas participants. Only ACFM uses this method. In particular, since only the participants having the market badge can watch the online screening, the number of viewing can be read as a scale of interest in the film industry."



Expanding the K-content Area & Becoming the Representative ‘Original Trading Market’ is the Goal


The Busan International Film Festival 2021 opened its door to the OTT series for the first time. The ‘On Screen’ section, which was newly established this year, succeeded in expanding the film festival area with explosive responses with ‘All Sold Out.’ ACFM also changed its name from Asian Film Market, AFM, in 2020, which marks its 15th anniversary, to Asian Contents & Film Market, expanding its scope to a comprehensive content market that includes movies and other video content. E-IP Market (Entertainment-IP Market) is a new chapter to introduce IPs such as books, webtoons, and web novels to industry officials and pave the way for One-Source Multi-Use (OSMU) of Korean content. The E-IP Market 2021 also achieved remarkable results. E-IP Market selected 45 pieces in total; 28 Korean pieces, 10 Taiwanese, and 7 Japanese, and the number of official business meetings totaled 824, the highest ever. In the future, ACFM plans to solidify its position as a comprehensive content market that encompasses all video content from movies, TV dramas, and OTT platforms.



“It was a shame that ACFM, the only comprehensive content market in Korea, could not be held normally at a time when interest in original Korean content is rising around the world. In 2021, offline events were held only for Korean participants, but we could see overseas participants also wanted sufficient chances for face-to-face business. We also confirmed the importance of borderless participation from various content industries. In addition to books, webtoons, web novels, and stories, which are already in the major areas, we intend to develop ACFM into an original copyright trading market representing Asia as well as the world."

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