Global Showbiz Firms Love Pororo the Penguin

      July 15, 2011 13:02

      The Korean animation character Pororo the little penguin is catching the eyes of many global entertainment companies, with one reportedly offering Ocon, the show's producer, as much as W1 trillion for the goggle-wearing bird (US$1=W1,059).  

      Ocon president Kim Il-ho on Thursday said, "About a decade ago when I visited an overseas film exhibition, I just couldn't help but feel overwhelmed. But now I feel things are a lot different since we've gotten many offers across the world."

      "Pororo the Little Penguin" was first aired on EBS in 2003. The show was created by Iconix Entertainment and co-produced by Ocon, SK Broadband and EBS.

      Of the first 52 episodes, 22 were made by North Korea-based subcontractor Samcholli General Corp. Having aired three seasons so far, the show has become popular around the world and is being exported to over 110 countries. In France, it saw viewer ratings of a whopping 52 percent on the country's largest terrestrial channel TF1.

      The show will be adapted into a film to be released next summer. Some 36,000 people at over 220 Korean firms are involved in making merchandise based on the character, generating W600 billion last year and an estimated W1 trillion this year.

      "When the animation was created, most of the staff were parents, so they were able to come up with characters that appeal to children," Kim said. "The global appeal can be attributed to the fact that unlike famous foreign animation characters, Pororo is not an almighty superhero but an imperfect creature who makes lots of mistakes, like children themselves."

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