Bakish Talks Capitalism, Connectivity and K-Pop in Korea

by Todd Phillips, Viacom International Media Networks

Viacom International Media Networks president and CEO Bob Bakish was among the participants at the 3rd annual Asia Leadership Forum, hosted in Seoul this month by leading South Korean news organization The Chosun Ilbo.

Focused on the theme “Capitalism 4.0: Searching for Post Crisis Solutions,” the two-day conference was attended by leaders and dignitaries from across the globe including the former Prime Ministers of Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Israel, the former US Secretary of Labor, Robert B. Reich, and executives from global businesses including Standard Chartered Bank, Saatchi and Saatchi, KT Corporation and Viacom.

Bakish on stage at the Asian Leadership Conference

In the session “How Smart TV Changes the World” moderated by best-selling author and Wired senior writer Steven Levy, perspectives from Samsung, Netflix, Disney Mobile and Viacom opened the debate about how the living room viewing experience continues to shift from the passive to the active, yet there are obstacles still to overcome.

Technological breakthroughs  and high-speed connectivity may have shifted the paradigm of the viewing experience, but the increased demand from content creators like Viacom will play an vital factor in the growth of the economics models around Smart TVs.  Netflix’s Reed Hastings told the audience how “steadily increasing wealth is based in technology,” setting the tone for how Smart TVs can provide exciting new economic opportunities for hardware manufacturers like Samsung, streaming companies like Netflix and content creators like Disney and Viacom.

Bakish’s presentation focused upon how Smart TV’s can fuel the Social TV viewing experience and how this aspect will shape the uptake and the consumer-interface interactive television sets can provide. From Bakish’s position, great content that connects and engages audiences will continue to play an vital part of the industry’s development.

In the session entitled “New Korean Wave,” Bakish told the audience how Viacom has been investing in Korean content for more than a decade, with seven animation studios currently producing content for Nickelodeon and MTV’s contribution to the rising global popularity of Korean Pop Music, or K-Pop.  Girls Generation and SHINee, popular K-Pop artists represented by co-panellist Lee Soo Man’s SM Entertainment, have already been showcased on global platforms including MTV World Stage and 2011’s MTV Video Music Aid Japan.

Bakish also announced to the audience that the first co-production to come out of Viacom’s newly formed joint venture with SBS Media Holdings would air in over a half-billion MTV homes, giving last year’s MTV EMA Worldwide Act winners Big Bang a global platform to showcase their 2012 comeback concert special.

For highlights of content created in and exported out of Korea by Viacom International Media Networks, watch the video above.

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