The world's first web content festival will kick off in the southwestern city of Gwangju this month, organizers said Tuesday.
Web content refers to cartoons, novels, dramas and videos created for the Internet or mobile devices.
Co-hosted by the Gwangju city government and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the inaugural Gwangju World Web Contents Festival will be held at the Asia Culture Center from June 23 to June 26.
About 20 popular web content creators and officials from domestic multi-channel networks such as CJ E&M's DIA TV, Treasure Hunter and Sandbox will take part in the festival, according to its promotion committee.
Among them are YouTube stars such as Na Dong-hyun, who operates a channel that provides walk-throughs of popular games under the nickname "Great Library," and David Kenneth Levene Jr., commonly known as "Dave" who gained fame for making videos about his six years of living in South Korea as an American.
The festival period coincides with the 7th Asia Europe Culture Ministers Meeting set to open at the same venue on June 22-24 with delegates from 53 countries attending.
Event organizers expect about 100,000 people will visit the festival.
Visitors will have plenty of opportunities to see the creators in various programs such as the "relay-talk" where they share about their life as a creator; "creator-mentoring" for aspiring YouTube video creators; "music stage" for web-based music stars; and the "open studio," which will give fans a peep into how videos are made.
For a hands-on experience, visitors can instantly produce a short web-based drama based on their own life story at the drama set that will be installed at the event’s venue.
There also will be an exhibition of major works from companies specializing in web-based dramas, novels and animation at the ACC Culture Exchange, one of the six major facilities of the ACC, on June 24-26.
An international conference themed on "the evolution of web contents in the mobile age" will be held on June 24. Speakers include Park Hyun-wook, marketing director of YouTube Asia Pacific; Hardy Yong Xiang, a professor of the School of Arts at Peking University; and Xiong Chengyu, a Tsinghua University professor.
Yoo Ji-ho, director of the promotion committee, said that the inaugural festival will focus on domestic YouTube stars to effectively draw the attention of the public with a limited budget.
"Unlike typical expos or trade fairs, we made the festival into a place where content creators and visitors can interact with each other and have fun," he said during a press conference in Seoul to promote the festival. "Because this is the first edition of the festival we have focused on business-to-customer events, but also many business-to-business events are in preparations."
Kim Tack-whan, chairman of the committee, said that if the inaugural edition succeeds, organizers may consider adding an international competition category so it can grow into another famous international festival for the country, much like the Tongyeong International Music Festival and Busan International Film Festival.
He was confident about the future of the Gwangju festival and the web contents industry.
"The pattern of consuming popular culture is now changing among the younger generation," he said. Web content will be the next runner in the global boom of Korean pop culture after K-pop, Korean TV series and films, he stressed. (Yonhap)