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An analysis of distributors' roles in the film market: revisiting the second renaissance of the Korean film industry based on sociological perspectives

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Title: An analysis of distributors' roles in the film market: revisiting the second renaissance of the Korean film industry based on sociological perspectives
Author(s): Park, Keun-Young
Advisor(s): Han, Shin-Kap
Contributor(s): Liao, Tim F.; Swicegood, C. Gray; Aguilera, Ruth V.
Department / Program: Sociology
Discipline: Sociology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Doctoral
Subject(s): Korean Film Industry Box-office Ticket Sales Audience Preferences Distributor's Roles
Abstract: Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the Korean film industry has experienced a series of prodigious shifts, including a sudden growth of domestic film ticket sales. Although scholars have performed diverse research focusing on the causes and effects of the shifts, most findings from their studies are not helpful in identifying the core implications of given phenomena because they were on the basis of unverifiable premises. In this study, substantive meanings of those changes will be investigated by challenging the key question of the phenomena, namely, from where do increases of Korean film ticket sales come? In answering the question, this dissertation claims the following two points. First, as the production of culture perspective suggests, film distributors, the central organizations of the film industry’s gatekeeping system, have played pivotal roles in augmenting domestic film consumption. Second, in analyzing distinctive distribution patterns in the Korean film market, economic sociological perspectives, which underscore social and historical influences on the market and market players, have many advantages over classical economic views. The analyses that provide empirical evidence have two parts, one for the buyers’ and the other for the sellers’ side of the film industry. On the buyers’ side, the analysis starts with an assumption that sales of a certain product in the market are determined by the extent to which buyers favor that product. Hence, the first analysis examines whether or not consumers’ preference levels toward Korean films have significantly improved. The results show that audiences’ preferences for Korean films have considerably improved but not significantly enough to claim that improved preferences triggered the Korean film’s box-office expansion. On the contrary, the analysis on the sellers’ side reveals several systematic patterns among film distributors. First, unlike American films distributed by Hollywood studios that have already had their unique distribution patterns, Korean films developed their discernable distribution patterns in more recent years. In addition, due to the growing number of domestic film productions, the competition levels among Korean distributors have significantly increased, but, nevertheless, the competition levels between Korean and American distributors have stagnated. More important, this study confirms that avoiding large-scale Hollywood films helped Korean films to obtain better box-office receipts. Consolidating all these empirical results, this study suggests the fundamental meanings of the recent shifts in the Korean film market.
Issue Date: 2012-02-06
Genre: thesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/29809
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Keun-Young Park
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-02-06
Date Deposited: 2011-12
 

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