EARS on Helsinki 2016: Virtually, anything!

For EARS on Helsinki 2016, we introduce four cross-over topics that come together in industry-specific talks and sessions. This is what we’ll be looking at in August:


To curate means to make selections, and as the amount of content balloons by the day, curators become more vital. But who makes the selections, how, and why? Social media megastars and multichannel personal brands, who do not represent traditional institutions or play by their rules, top traditional brands off the charts. What does this mean when marketing virtually anything?

Interested? See EARS on Helsinki speaker Ivy Wong.



Major investments into games, movies, music and tv are coming from the Asian market. How are decisions on investments made? On the other hand, funding is not only about the money – it is also about authority. Satisfying given needs is a profound logic in securing funding in the traditional sense and crowdfunding, as well. How does money affect the story, the style, the sentiment?

Interested? Check out EARS on Helsinki speakers Terry Ding and Timo Argillander.



Organizing events is creating futures: this is the field, where relevance to the audience is defined months and months in advance. As social media creates new audiences and distributors, and holograms, virtual reality and 360 degree productions disrupt the traditional logic of attending events, how is planning and executing events affected? What are the next big things in digital events made possible by up and coming technologies?

Interested? We present EARS on Helsinki speaker Sohail Arora.



When it comes to making it in the Asian market, products and licensing are the money shot! In the world of products and licensing, ecosystems created by characters multiply the reach of individual productions. How does a single character migrate between literature, cinema, music, or games? How do they cross cultural barriers? And when does good brand management mean to step away from the products?

Interested? Look up EARS on Helsinki speakers Tianyi Pan, Isabelle Glachant and Toni-Matti Karjalainen.


EARS on Helsinki 2016

We are super excited to welcome you all back to Helsinki in 2016. The 9th edition of EARS – Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions – will take over the city 25-28 August with the leading creative industry professionals from Asia. Expect 4 days of talks, roundtables, shows, parties and the fantastic people from all around the world.

We have now a limited amount of super early bird tickets now available. Head to the shop to get yours before they run out. See you soon!

EARS on trends: Endorsements, Virtual reality and Millenials

In Asia urbanization and the growing online population are driving the demand for culture and entertainment and generating new innovation. But what are the trends emerging in the market and affecting the creative economy? Folks, it’s time to put your EARS glasses on and take a look.


In this jet age of modern marketing communication, people tend to ignore all commercials and advertisements while flipping through magazines and newspapers or viewing TV. Still the glamour of a celebrity seldom goes unnoticed. Celebrity endorsement is a way to partner up mixing different fields and products such as music and fashion to reach wider audiences.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on brand and celebrity endorsements: How do the partnership look like in Asia? How do pop stars utilize fashion? How do fashion brands spread their message through endorsements? How does it compare with the practices in the West?


Virtual reality technology is about to break into the consumer realm in the very near future. VR can be referred to as computer-simulated life, in other words, an environment that simulates physical presence in places in the real world and lets the user interact in that world. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences, which can include sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. VR headsets are moving fast into the consumer market and present a new challenge but also opportunities for media, and the whole creative industry.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on virtual reality: What are the opportunities and challenges presented for media companies and creative industry professionals? What kind of content should be produced for virtual reality? What will be the popular use for VR?


A different world, a different worldview. Millennials have grown up with rapid change, resulting in a different set of priorities and expectations owned by the previous generations. Especially the retail space has been reshaped by millennials’ affinity for technology. With on-the-go product information, peer reviews and price comparisons at their fingertips, Millennials turn to brands that offer just what they need at that exact moment. With drastic economic growth and impact of social media, the generation gap is even wider in Asia than in Europe.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on millenials: What are the generation of millenials interested in? Do the interests in Asia differ from the West? How does online content affect millenials’ consuming habits?


EARS on trends is an article series presenting the latest developments from Asia’s creative industries. A deeper dive into the trends will be taken at the next EARS event

EARS on trends: Niche content, Social soundtrack and the Venue Boom

In Asia urbanization and the growing online population are driving the demand for culture and entertainment and generating new innovation. But what are the trends emerging in the market and affecting the creative economy? Folks, it’s time to put your EARS glasses on and take a look.


Making local, non-English language feature film content travel in the international marketplace remains a constant challenge in all corners of the globe. Genre cinema is the rare exception in the landscape. Fantasy, science fiction, horror and action films might often be perceived as niche product on their domestic turf. Yet the genre product has a loyal and global fanbase for which language barriers are almost non-existent and the local flavour is rather a blessing than a curse.

The global appeal of genre cinema is also making it more and more attractive from the coproduction perspective. Coproductions on the genre front could well provide an easy access to the market in different European territories for Asian production companies, producers and talent and vice versa. Another advantage is easier access to distribution channels. With specialized genre distributors active in almost every territory, genre product is often superior to local mainstream product when trying to secure distribution in the international marketplace.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on niche content in Asia: What are the major pitfalls of pan-continental genre coproduction and how can they be avoided? Regarding content, what are the local restrictions and/or standard requirements that need to be taken into account when looking for cofinancing/coproduction partners? Can niche product be the content elevating the film industry from local to global?


Social soundtrack refers to the current consumption habits of live events. With the growing use of online channels, in addition to on-spot, live content is increasingly being consumed and commented on remotely online. Streaming of live events gives possibilities to consumers to interact for example with overseas festivals but also provide opportunities for events themselves. Festivals are no longer “just” live festivals but can increasingly reach overseas audiences. One example is Modern Sky Festival Helsinki, which is streamed to China from Helsinki in August. Increased visibility raises interest in Chinese brands – which for example at Modern Sky are taking part in the event through sponsorships. Streaming of live-events is a global trend but in Asia it is the social media channels and ways of marketing that commonly differ.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on live event consumption in Asia: How are live-events consumed on social media in Asia? What are the channels being used? What approaches should be taken in marketing? What possibilities are there for international partnerships in live event consumption?


In the past years Asia has witnessed the rise of numerous new performing arts venues and cultural hubs. Some of the biggest include West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and Taipei Performing arts Center, the first becoming one of the world’s biggest cultural hubs at its completion in 2017. Asia’s performing arts scene has seen increased funding and investment into the facilities but it’s not only new venues that have emerged. The rise of consumption power and leisure time in the emerging markets, have spurred new audiences interested in international productions especially in theatre and dance.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on performing arts venues in Asia: What are the basic missions, activities and strategies to reach audiences? Are there new working or business models to be found, or is it all about finding your audience? How do cities support their performing arts venues, are they a part of the cities’ cultural strategies?

EARS on trends is an article series presenting the latest developments from Asia’s creative industries. A deeper dive into the trends will be taken at the next EARS event.

EARS on trends: K-wave, Asia’s festival boom and Digital comics

In Asia, urbanization and the growing online population are driving the demand for culture and entertainment and generating new innovation. But what are the trends emerging in the market and affecting the creative economy? Folks, it’s time to put your EARS glasses on and take a look. 


K-wave refers to “Hallyu” or the ‘Korean wave’. It’s a term coined for the increasing popularity of Korean culture across Asia and globally over the past few decades. K-pop or Korean pop(ular) culture has taken Asia by storm since the 1990’s and has continued beyond almost everyone’s expectations and has dominated as a global entertainment and culture export.

K-pop started with music, but has extended to all forms of entertainment from TV to movies to dance, food and fashion. With its strong influence especially on Chinese consumers, K-wave has become a major consumption force that is impacting the global consumer world.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these K-wave questions: In what ways are Korean celebrities and content driving the sales of different brands in Chinese and global markets? What possibilities does K-wave present? What have been the driving forces of K-wave?


In Asia the amount of festivals has exploded in recent years. The rising level of income in the whole region and the rise of social media has allowed better access and interaction with international entertainment for youth around Asia. In addition, relaxing policies towards large events like music festivals and the music industry’s increased focus on live music have increased artists’ interest towards developing markets.

Looking at China alone, the amount of music festivals has increased from a handful of festivals to hundreds of music festivals in less than 10 years. But considering that China has around 160 cities with populations over a million there’s plenty of room to add more.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on Asia’s music and festival scene: Who are the main players? How does the decision making process work? What are the differences between regions within Asia? What genres are more popular, and how do you build a long-term relationship with audiences?

Take a look at the top notch music industry pros taking the EARS stage here.


Digital online comics consumed on smart devices have become hugely popular in South Korea. This can especially be seen in metros where people commute with their heads tucked tightly into the comic strips, also called webtoons, which have also been forecasted to be the country’s next booming export.

According to KT Economy Research Institute, South Korea’s webtoon market, with over 6 million daily readers and nearly 150,000 cartoonists, was worth around 96 million ($) in 2012. Korean companies are now making their way into global markets having already received a lot of international attention.

EARS on Helsinki 2015 seeks answers to these questions on digital publishing: What should you avoid when wanting to create cross-cultural content? What is the future of digital comics? What are the key forces driving the globalization of Korean animation?

Insight will be shared by Sehoon Chang, head of Animation Global Business at CJ E&M, South Korea’s leading content and media company.


EARS on trends is an article series presenting the latest developments from Asia’s creative industries. A deeper dive into the trends will be taken at the next EARS event. Want to learn the fundamentals of Asia’s creative industries, strengthen your knowledge with the latest trends, and meet Asia’s key professionals? Come to EARS on Helsinki, 27-30 August

Stroll in Helsinki

When in Helsinki, you might want to do some relaxed strolling around the city. We spotted the best places to wander off to when you feel like seizing the moment and breathing in some Nordic melancholy.


Kiasma is a museum of contemporary art in Helsinki, a lively cultural centre and meeting place for visitors of all kind. It’s the perfect place to spend an hour or more losing yourself in the ongoing exhibitions. Kiasma is worth visiting not only for its world-class art but the architectural experience. The most important building material in Kiasma is light. Architect Steven Holl was fascinated by the natural light in Finland, the way it lives with the changing seasons and times of day. Therefore shapes and textures of the building were designed with focus on light. During EARS on Helsinki you can visit following exhibitions: Jani Leinonen, Face to Face and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Check out the exhibitions and additional info here.

Mannerheiminaukio 2

Picture: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

Töölönlahti Bay

The park around the Töölö Bay begins in the heart of Helsinki and is circled by a popular walking path. Put your comfy shoes on and take look at the Wooden villas along the shores as a reminder of Helsinki’s history or spend a relaxed moment sipping coffee at the little dock in front of kiosk styled café Tyyni. This verdant area in the middle of Helsinki is a must visit to everyone looking for a little break from the city sounds.

Tyyni: Helsinginkatu 56

Picture: Flickr Helen Penjam CC BY 2.0

Market Halls


There are several beautiful market halls in Helsinki worth taking a closer look at. One of them, The Old Market Hall of Helsinki has served its customers since 1889. Merchants sell everything from cheese, fish, shellfish, vegetable, fruit and cakes to spices, coffee and tea. They are also more than happy to help with any special orders. If not hungry, still recommended place to walk through breathing in the scents of Finnish delicacies and the old school atmosphere. In addition to the The Old Market Hall in Eteläranta, there are cool market halls in Hakaniemi and Hietaniemi.

All you need to know here!


Picture: Visit Helsinki



Ateneum Art Museum located in the central Helsinki is part of Finnish national gallery and dedicated to fine art from the Gustavian period of the mid-18th century to the modernist movements of the 1950s. Ateneum houses a handsome collection of international art, featuring works by such masters as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Fernand Léger and Marc Chagall. Not so dull way to spend an afternoon!

Opening hours, exhibitions and more here!

Kaivokatu 2

Picture: Visit Helsinki

Design District Helsinki


Helsinki offers an ideal place to get to know Finnish design and to buy top-class Finnish design products. Located in the centre of Helsinki, the Design District Helsinki is an area full of design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants and showrooms. Design District Helsinki is a neighbourhood and a state of mind. It is 25 streets and 200 spots on a map from shops to galleries and from design studios to design hotels. It is creativity, uniqueness, experiences, design and Finnish urban culture.

Convinced? Ready set go!

Picture: Visit Helsinki


EARS – Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions is a platform focusing on creative industry collaboration between Europe and Asia. The next EARS event will be held in Helsinki, August 27-30, showcasing the latest trends from Asia in the fields of design, music, performing arts, literature, marketing and media.


Creative hubs of Helsinki

With influences from both East and West, and a strong history with creative industries from design to media, Helsinki has developed into the coolest creative hub of the North. But what are the city’s hot spots and where does the creative source stem from? Hop on the EARS wagon and take a ride with us through some of Helsinki’s inspiring spaces. 

Pasila Studios 

Pasila Studios web

Pasila Studios is not only the venue of EARS on Helsinki 2015 but the hottest platform for creative operations and encounters in the capital area of Finland. With over 11 buildings, 150 000 m2 floor space, 4 studios, and 20 000 m2 of office space by 2018, Pasila Studios is the platform for innovation across sectors. And yes, of course there is a sauna in case for inspirational emergencies.

Pasila Studios is run by Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle, a public service broadcasting company owned by the Finnish people. Yle has multiple national television and radio channels, and the most extensive and varied online selection of television and radio programmes in the country. The broadcasting company plays a major role in producing and presenting programmes dealing with Finnish national arts, educational and children’s programmes, as well as special interest and minority groups. When at Pasila Studios, you can sense both the long media history of Yle and the exciting vibes of the new and upcoming creative ecosystem.



Telakkaranta is the home of creatives from all fields! You can find the lucky fellows of Madventures, Makia Clothing and Kinos with many others housing their offices in here. Telakkaranta translates into dockyard and this particular one is quite special being one of the last evidences of early industry influenced milieus in Helsinki. Experience one of the Helsinki’s oldest shipyards first hand in August at Modern Sky Helsinki festival in Telakkaranta. Our guess is that there’s something in the water that gets those creative ideas floating.

Photo © Visit Helsinki


Cable Factory

Kaapelitehdas newsletter :kallu Flickr creative commons

The Cable Factory is the largest cultural centre in Finland with 3 museums, 12 galleries, dance theatres, art schools and a host of artists, bands and companies. Located in central Helsinki, around 900 people work at the old factory building on a daily basis. It’s a rustic home for a family like big group of creative industry enthusiasts supporting each other’s artistic projects. Cable Factory is a place where different creative projects such as TV productions, dancers and visual art workshops can live under the same roof and gain inspiration from one another. In August 2015, the factory building will host the 25×25 – Close encounter art marathon with 25 hours of non-stop Chinese underground!

Photo: /kallu / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


Lepokorpi Studio

Saara Lepokorpi

Saara Lepokorpi is a Finnish upcoming clothing designer based in Helsinki. Her label Lepokorpi is part of the Pre Helsinki platform, dedicated to internationalizing Finnish clothing design through press events in Europe and Asia. The Lepokorpi studio is located in Vallila, one of the northernmost districts of central Helsinki. The same area is also home of various other design labels such as VALLILA interior and Iittala.

Saara’s search for the perfect working place went on for couple of years until the unique penthouse venue from a former factory building was found. Now Saara, owner of the fully renovated multifunctional ateljé, claims that it’s hard to stop working in such an inspirational place.

Photo © Saara Lepokorpi


EARS – Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions is a platform focusing on creative industry collaboration between Europe and Asia. The next EARS event will be held in Helsinki, August 27-30, showcasing the latest developments from the fields of design, music, performing arts, literature, marketing and media.

SIFF: Finnish Krista Kosonen awarded best actress

Finnish Krista Kosonen has won best actress at the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). Kosonen was awarded for her role in the film The Midwife (Kätilö), a Finnish-Lithuanian drama film directed by Antti J. Jokinen.

The Midwife, based on Katja Kettu‘s bestseller novel, tells the story about a love affair between a Finnish midwife and a Nazi SS officer, set midst the Lapland War in Finland 1944-45. The Midwife was also shortlisted for the SIFF’s respected Golden Goblet award. The selection of 15 films was made out of a record-breaking 2096 submissions.

The Shanghai International Film Festival, founded in 1993, is China’s only A-category international film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Association (FIAPF). Other festivals in the A-category include for example the festivals of Cannes and Berlin. SIFF is one of Asia’s biggest and the world’s fastest growing international film festival.

SIFF is organized by Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film & TV and Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group. As globalization affects China’s rapidly growing film industry, Shanghai International Film Festival aims to build international platform, and promote the exchange and cooperation between Chinese and foreign film industries.

Photo: Solar Films

EARS – Europe-Asia Roundtable Sessions is a platform focusing on creative industry collaboration between Europe and Asia. Next time leading creative industry professional will meet at EARS on Helsinki, 27-30 August. 

Downshift in Helsinki

In Finland we have this thing called silence. Although it might sound weird to foreigners we Finns love it. Many Finns escape the city for midsummer fest and relocate to the peace and quiet of summer cottages. Helsinki has also a lot to offer for those seeking a peace of mind. EARS gives you some inside tips on how to downshift in Helsinki and get inspired in urban settings.


Hiljaisuuden kappeli

Kamppi Chapel of Silence is located in a corner of the Narinkkatori square in Helsinki, offering an opportunity to calm down in the middle of perhaps the busiest area in Finland. The Chapel is intended to be a place where people can have a moment of silence and meet each other. This innovative wood architecture designed by architects Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen has received a lot of attention by winning international architecture awards. The curved shape of the small-scale Chapel building allows the space and views to flow in the urban surroundings. Place to clear your mind and get inspired by silence.

The Chapel is open every day; from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.



A forest in the middle of the city. The 100-year-old park is a great place to have a run or go horseback riding. Designed by architect Bertel Jung Helsinki central park is a 10 kilometers long area with rich and various nature. Start your journey from Töölönlahti Bay and continue until northern Helsinki. Taking a walk in a forest sniffing scents of birches and catching a tram back home after is a definition of urban relaxation.



The sea and archipelago form part of Helsinki’s image and the spiritual landscape of Helsinki residents. Estimated 300 islands in Helsinki area offer in addition to all sorts of activities the impression of unbounded vastness. Swim to Uunisaari and spend the day relaxing at sandy beach or row to Käärmeluoto islets and camp the bright summer night in high standing rocky islands. We guarantee peace of mind.



Located in Töölö by the ocean line Cafe Regatta is open from early morning to the sunset offering great service and best buns in the city. Spend a long evening wrapped in a warm blanket sipping coffee while watching midsummer bonfire reflecting to the ocean. You can also grill your own sausages outside at the fire. City life doesn’t get much comfier from this.

Helsinki by Pan Jianfeng and Taru Salminen

Two EARS on Helsinki 2015 speakers share their Helsinki essentials by name dropping 3 of their favourite things about the Finnish capital.

Designer from Shanghai

Pan Jianfeng     

1. Blueberries

Picking blueberries under the evening sun

 2. Evening sun

Evening sunshine is something you should never miss in Finland.

 1 + 2 = 3. The nature

The best way to experience the evening sun is to be in nature, picking blueberries for example. Blueberries are nature’s best gift in Finnish summer.

South Korea’s most famous Finn, tv-celebrity and an entrepreneur based in Seoul.

Taru Salminen     

1. The ocean

The Baltic Sea is an essential part of the Nordic scenery.

2. Intimacy

Even though Helsinki is a capital city, it still has the certain small town feeling to it.

3. Internationality

Helsinki is an international city where it’s possible to exchange ideas about differences between various cultures.