South Korean Animators Aim to Contribute to the Region’s Global Successes
Content produced in South Korea, also known as K-content, has been rapidly expanding its reach to resonate with global audiences. K-pop recording artists and K-productions, such as “Parasite,” “Squid Game” and “Hellbound,” have experienced immense success ranging from winning awards to breaking streaming records. The Korean Wave, known locally as Hallyu, is clearly neither a temporary nor solely a regional phenomenon, but rather a global fever.
As exemplified by fans shooting their own cover videos of K-pop dances in the street, playing “Squid Game”-themed games and even learning the native language to better experience the original content without relying on subtitles, Korean entertainment continues to rapidly grow and expand.
Kids of all ages are also participating, paving the way for creators to focus on making content the whole family can enjoy together. The success of “Squid Game” and other Korean content has opened up new doors, and many people are curious to see what next from the region will make an impact on an international scale.
South Korea’s latest offering is a K-animation series, “Superdino.” SAMG Entertainment, the creator and producer behind the series, is a 22-year-old children’s entertainment company known for its world-class CGI production capability. SAMG is the main production partner behind “Miraculous,” and SAMG’s own shows “Miniforce” and “Catch Teenieping” are also hugely popular shows in the Asian market with 35 billion views in China alone.
So, what’s special about “Superdino”? For starters, the series has been specifically developed to enter the European and American markets. Nearly four years ago, SAMG introduced the project to one of the leaders in European content distribution, Spain’s DeAPlaneta Entertainment. Soon thereafter, the companies entered into a close partnership, going on to collaborate very closely across all stages of production, from planning and design to storytelling and manufacturing toys for children around the world. With Emmy Award-winning writer Eric Scot Shaw on board as the production’s story supervisor, the show was destined to be both well-written and universally appealing to young audiences around the globe. SUNAC Culture, a cooperative partner of “Superdino,” is also participating in the project in early development and production as a co-producer, ensuring cultural diversity.
A 52-episode TV series for kids, “Superdino” features a rescue team of five adorable dinosaurs led by a genius heroine who rescues their dinosaur friends in danger — demonstrating how to cooperate with friends, overcome difficulties and cope with crises.
“I wanted to tell a warm story and be sure viewers could relate to our dinosaur characters, as pre-school kids around the world love dinosaurs,” says Suhoon Kim, CEO of SAMG Entertainment. “We expect successful settlement of our new content with DeAPlaneta Entertainment this year and to further strengthen our position as a global content company with various ‘mega-IP.’”
Following its premiere in Korea around April, the series is scheduled to be released across China, Europe and the North and Latin American markets, with DeAPlaneta launching corresponding media, licensing and merchandising across its broad distribution networks.
Diego Ibáñez Belaustegui, the chief brand officer at DeAPlaneta, says, “SAMG Entertainment is a truly modern entertainment company that brings together creative, commercial and product design capabilities. This fact has allowed them to create, for many years, benchmark IPs reinforced by their own innovative toy lines. With “Superdino,” we inaugurate a new stage that is perfectly in tune with the founding of DeAPlaneta Entertainment and reinforces our presence in Asia.”
Though Korean animation has been around only since just after the country recovered from the Korean War in the early 1950s, the development of CGI animation technology in the 2000s helped to launch Korean animation companies and their content onto the global stage. Developing a reputation for high-quality and beautiful designs, vivid colors and well-crafted storylines, Korean animation has become a major player in the worldwide entertainment industry. Shows such as “Baby Shark,” the most viewed children’s content on YouTube, and “Pororo the Little Penguin” have been seen and enjoyed by billions of kids around the world. SAMG’s business strategy combines animation with the development of corresponding merchandise, enabling children to experience the joy of not only watching, but also playing with, characters from the shows.
Fierce competition within the Korean animation market – which is relatively small when compared with those of neighboring countries such as China and Japan – has helped the industry’s development, forcing local talent to hone their skills in both animation and toy production in order to compete at a global level. For the past several years, markets across Southeast Asia, including China, have recognized the high quality of Korean animation, which has been actively exported along with games and toys. In addition to spurring rigorous domestic competition and increasing regional appreciation, Korean content has notably improved enough to be appreciated by overseas markets such as Europe and the Americas.
With hopes to continue the steadily building momentum of Korean-produced content, many are wondering if K-animation will really be the next big thing in this wave. Will “Superdino” become the next “Squid Game”-level success for South Korea? Will it be fun enough to excite children around the world?
Set to premiere in Korea around April, “Superdino” is slated to launch in the United States and Europe later this year. Visit SAMG Entertainment’s website to stay up-to-date with the latest announcements.
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