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2014 Hallyu Drama, The Relationship Between Publication Rights and Popularity

[by Park Seul Gi, translated by Woorim Ahn] Even before Korean dramas’ first premiere, production companies and broadcasting stations start promoting their dramas with a title ‘Exporting Publication Rights’, and as a result, many hot celebrities appear in such dramas and increase the prices.

Drama ‘Love From Star’ became the trigger to sell publication rights to other countries, particularly to China. The drama’s production company sold it to China for $35,000 per episode at first, but as it became a mega hit series, other dramas got more benefits – drama ‘Doctor Stranger’ for $70,000, ‘Fated to Love You’ for $120,000, ‘My Lovely Girl’ for $200,000 and ‘Pinocchio’ for $280,000 per episode – drama ‘Love From Star’ changed Korean drama market, indeed.

However, would the exported dramas succeed as much as drama ‘Love From Star’ in China? There are a few question marks going around about this issue – whether it has a great ripple effect or not and how long its popularity would last.

◆ Hallyu Dramas, Are They All Popular When Its Rights Are Exported?

Korean dramas had struggles throughout 2014. Although many hot celebrities were cast, most of them couldn’t succeed in Korea. However, starting from ‘Love From Star’, people in China paid their attention to various Korean dramas.

According to magazine Zhi Dian of China’s Hubei Daily, popularity of ‘Chimaek (Chicken + Beer)’ and mobile messenger LINE was increased. Moreover, book ‘The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane’, which Do Minjun used to read in drama was sold more than 50,000 within 15 days. As much as this, drama ‘Love From Star’ was a hot issue.

After the drama, SBS ‘My Lovely Girl’ was exported to China even before its first episode aired for $200,000. In particular, many people anticipate the drama because of the two lead roles – Jung Ji Hoon (Rain) and girl group f(x) Krystal.

However, the drama didn’t make its hit as much as ‘Love From Star’. One of Rain’s fans in China said, “It wasn’t fun as much as I expected. But, I just watched it because Rain appeared” and gave a cynical opinion about it.

Moreover, drama ‘My Love Girl’ hit 100 million views on Chinese video site Youku Tudou in 19 days, but 100 million views can be regarded as nothing comparing to ‘Love From Star’s’ 2.5 billion views.

As exporting drama rights’ costs are not necessarily proportional to their popularity, you can easily recognize that people in China don’t like all Korean dramas – they are just interested in various dramas and Korean celebrities.

However, a source from Drama Production Company said, “Although dramas in these days don’t make success in Korea, we get profits from exporting them, so it’s more likely a must rather than an option.”

◆ Would Its Popularity Last In 2015?

According to Wall Street Journal on September, Chinese government will plan to limit foreign contents to 30% of the video streaming sites. Thus, Korean dramas would not make hits next year due to such a policy.

China has been limited foreign contents on its television, but not on Internet. So, Youku Tudou, Sohu and other video sites have bought foreign contents, put subtitles and updated as soon as possible to provide fast contents.

However, at the ‘Korea UHD Festival 2014’, which was held by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning on December 19, 38 drama production and media companies from Korea and China attended. At the event, Chinese companies mentioned that they were busy on finding partners to develop their contents, which means Hallyu drama’s popularity will be continued for now.

In addition, Korean dramas are now focused on talking about Korean society and professional elements, rather than typical love story. As dramas are changing in Korea, these features are something new in China and refresh the Hallyu.

Particularly, China’s biggest review site Douban.com gave 9.3 out of 10 to drama ‘Misaeng’ and 8.4 to ‘Love From Star’. This implies that there should be more developments on the Hallyu dramas’ new contents and story in 2015. (photo by SBS ‘Love From Star’, ‘My Lovely Girl’, ‘Pinocchio’, tvN ‘Misaeng’, MBC ‘Fated to Love You’ official poster)

Contact: news@bntnews.co.uk

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Shim Eun Jin Pictorial

Write: 2014-12-23 10:25:02 / Update: 2014-12-23 18:23:16

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