Earlier this month, it was revealed that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) are teaming up to produce a concert and a documentary about K-Pop.
The president of KBS, Kim In Kyu, met with Mark Thompson and George Entwhistle, the current director general of the BBC and soon-to-be director respectively. Mr Kim recieved and offer to hold a K-Pop concert co-hosted by the BBC and KBS, and also the co-production of a ‘high quality documentary’. The planning is currently underway, and British K-Pop fans are eagerly awaiting more news.
But what could this mean to the K-Pop scene in Britain? The BBC’s past record with K-Pop has been less than positive, with reports such as ‘The Dark Side of K-Pop’ and the recent Radio One controversy regarding 2NE1. However, it is the job of journalists to see things from both sides and it seems as though the tables have turned. The BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world, serving France, America and India to name just a few places! If this documentary were to be broadcast across all the BBC World channels, then it’s audience would be in the millions.
The sheer number of viewers, however, is not the only thing that could make this documentary a breakthrough. K-Pop is becoming more and more well-known in the UK, with many home-grown celebrities praising it, and the recent ‘Gangnam Style’ phenomenon has spread it further. Korean culture is also becoming more well-known, with events such as the Mayor’s Thames Festival showcasing traditional Korean activities. London’s Korean Cultural Centre is also highly influential, with contacts at YG entertainment and many broadcasting companies. For the BBC to shine a light on the K-scene in Britain and show a home audience what this craze really is all about has the potential to be extremely beneficial to British K-Pop fans and Korean organisations in Britain alike.
Heading across the world to Korea now, KBS is the biggest of the South Korean TV networks and is extremely influencial. Many people know KBS to be close with SM Entertainment, the biggest entertainment company in Korea. If the documentary were to be shown to a Korean audience, millions would see it – and more importantly, millions would see how prominent Korean culture is in the UK. Entertainment companies would also see the potential for expansion into the UK.
As for the concert itself, many fans are speculating that the lineup will be SM-based due to KBS and SM’s close relationship. If this is true, then perhaps British fans will finally get the ‘SMTOWN Live World Tour’ that they have been wishing for? KBS, SM and the BBC would be a formidable force if they were to collaborate. Fans are also speculating that the concert may be similar to the ‘Music Bank Festival’ that Paris and Hong Kong have recently experienced, with a mixed lineup of artists from different companies. Or perhaps the concert will be similar to the recent MBC Festival, with a mix of K-Pop and cultural acts? Regardless of the lineup, one thing is for sure – this concert will be big.
The eyes of the world have been on London this summer with the Olympics making their long-awaited return to the city, and the Paralympics making their debut. With this project on the horizon, it seems as though London’s time in the spotlight might not be over just yet. Paris is currently the European centre for K-Pop, but that might be about to change.
Now, it’s London’s turn.