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Big 3 consider cutting back weeknight prime time miniseries

There’s a possibility that we’ll be seeing fewer weeknight dramas on the TV timetable in our future. The Big 3 broadcasters — KBS, MBC, SBS — are reportedly in talks to discuss programming alternatives to the current prime time drama schedule, ranging from adjusting the 10 PM drama hour, to cutting back on the number of shows aired per station every week. While far from being conclusive, the discussion is indicative of the general trend of ever-sinking ratings that we’re seeing across the board.

These days, even the 20% drama is a rare bird on weeknights, and while viewer expectations have adjusted to first-place shows regularly scoring 10% ratings, the problem is that drama production costs just keep rising, and advertising for low-rated shows isn’t bringing in enough revenue. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the highest cost goes to the lowest-rated shows: prime time weeknight miniseries (16 to 24 episodes), which are still the marquee programs for the Big 3. Yet the reality is that long-run weekend or daily dramas are far more cost-efficient and have bigger viewership to boot.

One source stated, “One miniseries episode costs at least 300 million won to produce, but advertising revenue falls short of that. Even if a miniseries succeeds, the network sees a deficit. Changing the miniseries time slot is one way to escape the deficit.” Another source offered, “We’re considering a system where MBC would air [a miniseries] on Monday-Tuesday, and KBS and SBS would air on Wednesday-Thursday, something like that.”

That seems like a much bigger change than adjusting the airing times, and difficult to negotiate when there are an odd number of networks. The Big 3 are sticklers for rules when it comes to competition, and they enforce all sorts of regulations to ensure that all dramas air at the same hour and aren’t allowed to go past the set running times, otherwise they’re seen as messing with the ratings game and get slapped with fines. Coming up with a system for less competition somehow doesn’t seem like a viable solution. I just can’t picture networks that won’t budge on one minute suddenly giving up whole days of the week to the competition.

While cable networks have their own share of drama programming woes, the article mentions the influence of the Answer Me franchise as the ideal drama production scenario that the Big 3 are chasing: low budget, pop-culture cachet, high returns. Incidentally, the Friday-Saturday drama slot that tvN gave birth to with Answer Me 1994 plays its own part in the uphill battle — it’s created even more hours of original drama programming slots for everyone and their mother to fill every week.

I don’t think we’re going to see any huge changes to the drama output soon, but the truth is that the drama landscape is in flux. SBS has been struggling on weekends for a while now, and plans to cut weekend dramas by the middle of this year. And we’re seeing more and more attempts to succeed with multi-season dramas and spinoffs. So it just might be the new normal for networks to experiment with different airing schedules from here on out. Okaaaay, just don’t screw with a drama addict’s fix too badly. You know what they say about messing with the bull.

Via TV Report

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MBC, SBS, & KBS needs to make more real dramas like TvN

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I wonder how high the ratings would have been if Misaeng was broadcasted on one of the big 3. I think it would have been at least 40%.

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Very likely!

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With a few exceptions like Misaeng, 'realistic' is not the word that comes to mind with tVN.

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Good Plot, Good Actors & more realistic in themes, kissing like the lesbian Kiss this week in a JTBC drama.

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We would have to agree to disagree ;-)

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Wow I can't believe they had the guts to write it, shoot it and broadcast it. I tip my hat to them.

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What they do NOT need to do is get smutty like TV in the US.

I say this honestly: People who want that type of 'realism' really do need to get a love life of their own. Voyeurism isn't healthy.

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Thanks for putting words in my mouth as I was actually talking about plots.

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I wonder how the connection from 'realistic' to kissing was made....especially since you specifically mentioned Misaeng, a drama which made it a point to have no romantic plotlines.

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Sorry about that Annie. I did see where you were going with your comment and clicked on the wrong "Reply" link.

The comment really wasn't intended to single out anyone specific. It was a broader observation that often on this board "realistic" is used in conjunction with advocating for more graphic sexual content. As in, people asserting that 'realistic' kissing, nekkidness in bed, etc. would be a sign of advancement. That's what we're told to believe. But I disagree. Here's where I'm coming from:

We've been increasingly desensitized by overt sexual content on TV in the US, and are now seeing how it's influenced our culture. The trends are not positive.

The age of first sexual activity is going down, to the extent that it's starting to occur when kids are in grade school. Kids are most likely to become sexually active by giving in to pressure, and start before they feel ready. And as a result, kids overwhelmingly report that sexual activity leaves them feeling bad about themselves and sexually used. This is particularly true for young girls. With time, and multiple partners, they become desensitized to the unique bonding that sexual activity should create.

As these young people age, the degree of sexual activity they've had before marriage has been found to have a negative correlation with their happiness within marriage.
After marriage, they're increasingly dealing finding that their partners have addictions to pornography and sexual encounters. And are surprised by the sense of betrayal, inadequacy and relational insecurity it creates.

Divorce rates have skyrocketed. Divorce - and worries about the possibility of divorce - is a leading source of stress for their children. The children of failed and unhealthy marriages carry the emotional baggage of unresolved/unresolvable pain - and failure to see a healthy relationship modeled for them - into adulthood.

As wives age, they are more likely to be abandoned by their husbands. Husbands marry younger women, and older women are left with limited options until the point where they simply turn into a nurse-with-a-purse.

Yet, despite it's pivotal role in this cultural rot, our entertainment industry continues to push sexual boundaries in order to draw an audience based on cheap voyeurism rather than good storytelling. Voyeurism is advanced under the banner of 'progress'. And they'll continue to erode boundaries until the public says 'enough'.

Case in point: Fifty Shades of Grey. Experts - having read that book - conclude that it is a very thinly veiled story about pedophilia. The book 'says' the woman is in her early 20s. But experts say the character's real age is about 12. It's only a matter of time before the window dressing is taken off the real story, the stated age will creep lower and lower, and a whole new level of hell will be unleashed within our culture. Unless the public says 'enough, we don't want to go...

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...go there.

Korea can spare itself the cultural effects of what we're seeing in the US if it keeps it's standards where they are. And export its unique brand of good storytelling to a broad global audience that has few other options.

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@Gidget

Quite honestly, I'm not sure how the keyword "realistic" for drama can trigger such a well-worded wall of paleo-conservative propaganda.

I for one am glad that I can watch fiction on television that actually addresses real life problems once in a while. I don't believe in the theory that, if we ban any problems from TV, people will be brainwashed enough to go back to medieval social roles and live happily ever after.

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@ Jon
If willingness to look objectively at both history and research results are 'propaganda' to you, just because the results aren't currently fashionable...well, I don't know what to say to that. Except that the one living in an intellectual cave might not be be. ;-)

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Might not be me. ;-)

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@ Gidget - As a child of divorced parents I have to unequivocally disagree with you. I was so much happier after 6 months that my 5th grade teacher brought me in to a conference with a classmate who's parents were divorcing. (with his permission). I was the first kid in the entire school with divorced parents. Also, my teenage daughter can not even imagine my parents married.

As for the rest - I'm with John. Besides, if parents don't talk with their kids whose fault is it really.

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@PlumWine

Of course, there are always exceptions. :-)

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Nice insight gidget. I am just glad that I discovered korean dramas if a bit too late in the summer of 2012, out of sheer boredom and tired of watching Hollywood movies on DVD. It was so bad that I watch the movies by fast forwarding it to whatever may look like an interesting scene but I skip and skip til I just watch the last ten minutes. So one movie for 30 minutes or less. Yea, most of it crap, the romantic comedy movies are not that funny or not even romantic anymore.
Jaded.

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@Gidget

I don't deny that some of your observations are based on facts. I just deny that your conclusions are established facts yet.

For example: It is true that children with divorced parents are more likely to become divorced themselves (which is not necessarily negative, btw).
It is also true that they are more likely to show mental issues or become criminals later (or other negative effects). HOWEVER, there is no established causality here.
In fact, many factors that lead to divorce (domestic violence, for example) also lead to problems in the development of children. Not the divorce causes later problems for the children, but the domestic violence (e.g.) causes both the divorce and the struggles. If you look at families that don't divorce despite of domestic violence, well, the children of those families have just as many problems.

There is one established negative impact of the divorce itself: In societies with low divorce rates, divorce is a terrible stigma for children. But this effect almost vanishes for many countries where divorce is not stigmatised.

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Please look up voyeurism. Wanting to see a realistic kiss or even passion on the show you're watching is not that. o_O

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Definitions shift over time.

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...Sex is a real thing. Appreciating frank discussions/ portrayals of it on your TV screen is far from "voyeurism." And honestly, smut is far more healthy than the sort of infantilization of women that goes on in Kdrama. I mean, think about it: your average heroine is a good 50 IQ points below her love interest (in some cases, so mindlessly cute she's more like an animal than a human being), and kept in a limbo of wide-eyed virginal prepubescence, such that supposedly professional adult women are reduced to floundering messes whenever a man so much as holds their hand, while the men make all the decisions, drag them around, know what's good for them, "protect" them and their virtue (occasionally by showing them the dangers of men by forcing their ~scary male sexuality on them), and all the while get a good chuckle "molesting" them and watching them clutch their pearls and/or flop around like a fish out of water. Seriously, I understand not everything can be a Jung Ha-yeon drama, but it's slim pickings if you want to escape this trap as well as the pseudo feminism that runs rampant in drama (sassy heroines that are ultimately cutesy and helpless, literally incapable of doing anything their man can't do better), and find a drama with fully fleshed-out women who are in charge of their own lives and their own bodies. Most of the miraculous examples of this involve some basic acknowledgement that sex exists and female sexuality is a thing, and that maybe we should deal with these things instead of getting six camera angles on the guy kissing the virtuously-unresponsive/frozen-in-shock girl and calling it a day.

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+1

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I agree with what you say, but don't think that to correct one problem they should create another. Realistic programming would show empowered and un-empowered women. Good and bad choices. The hardships of life and life's breakdowns. The power of the human spirit to make the best of hardship. What sex should do (positive outcomes of keeping it within boundaries) and what it can do (negative outcomes of removing boundaries).

But showing the actual sex has too many negative societal consequences.

I think the problem with the 'ism' ideologies is that they always present some 'new' paradigm that suggests the things that have always turned out poorly throughout the course of history, can now somehow have a magically good result. The conceit of every generation is that it's smarter and better than the last. It re-defines good/bad/right/wrong according to it's own whims. It imagines that it has all the solutions to creating utopia. And that the consistent and longstanding lessons of history hold no weight.

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This. Thank you for this post.

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Thank you!

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Yup.

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*claps*

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"so mindlessly cute she’s more like an animal than a human being" - This reminds of an Eat Your Kimchi Speaker's Corner - Gender Roles. Towards the middle these 2 girls (I assume Korean) said something like - women can't make up their own minds. *shudder* At such a young age... Ignorance can really hurt a person. Only by addressing social issues can we inform people enough not to make mistakes. How long has it been seen that wife 'correcting' is not an acceptable behavior? I for one have no wish to go back to 'the good old days'.

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@Gidget. I would suggest that the reason sex w/out boundaries (though I have to admit I'm not sure what you're referring to here--casual sex?) has been cast as a problem historically speaking is because a) moral discourses surrounding sex are historically contingent, b) people were stigmatized, punished, and/or met with unpleasantness because of the times they lived in, not because of the acts they performed, and c) sexual morality over the course of its long history has been little more than historically situated regimes of heteronormativity that demonized female sexuality and sought to control the home through controlling women's bodies and sex lives. Long story short, single mothers in 2015 are not going to be stimatized the way they were in 1950, prostitutes in the America of today are not going to be stoned the way they would in Palestine in 30 B.C., rape victims are no longer seen as "asking for it," women are not going to be slut-shamed without a fight, people are finally willing to discuss sex in frank and productive ways, etc. I wouldn't call that decay, I'd call it progress.

Also, about sex on TV...Oversexualization is one thing, but how can showing honest-to-god sex on TV be bad in and of itself? Again, sex is a real thing--I don't think our heads are going to explode if we see depictions of it (and besides, kids can find all manners of sex and violence on animal planet and NatGeo). People who are going to have sex are going to have sex whether they read or watch about it or not, whether they understand it or not, whether they're prepared to do it safely and responsibly or not...you see where I'm going.

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@gidget and wag_a_muffin
Agree with you 100%. Would say more but you've already said it :)

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THANK YOU juniper!!!!!!!

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exactly

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So so so so so true. Having seen about 150 of these so
Called well written dramas I am about done. The production values and direction are usually good. I like the innocence
Very much when the kids are actually teens. It's the 28 year old virgin standing like a statue when the love interest dives in for a kiss that creeps me out as much as unnecessary
Nudity in Hollywood does. Once in a while K TV will really
brave a realistic plot line,but the Cinderella stories,done exactly in the same fantasy has gotten so old it's no wonder
The ratings have plummeted. More than 10 years later,
Fans have grown up, there is a whole universe out there
Of stories between these and Hollywood junk. The tv stations seem terrified of change and creativity.

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THIS, THIS, THIS. I will venture to say that Gidget is quite puritanical because her/his wall of text was complete Victorian nonsense. S/he might like the ridiculous closed-mouth kisses in Kdrama, but most of the time I feel like I am watching two kids kissing instead of adults.

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This is way off the ratings topic, but I see this quest for "purity" a lot, so here's my piece.

Realism is not about showing everything, just as it is not about denying it. It is about portraying what you do choose to show in a manner that is consistent with the reality it exists in, when that is a basic part of nature/humanity.

A rom-com does not need graphic sex, but if the people involved in the romance are clearly not asexual, they need to show that these people enjoy each other in every aspect of their life as a couple. Intimacy, both mental and physical.

If they kiss, let them kiss like actual adults do. If you have clearly shown they are sexually able, show them make out on a bed and fade to black or something. People just want to see a couple be a couple (when the genre is rom-com), which means they have a mental, emotional and sexual connection (again, unless asexual).

And sex? Use it if need be, yes. It's how you portray it that matters. Don't endorse or glorify harmful elements of it, don't just use it to sell, but don't wipe it off the face of the Earth either. I think both US shows and Korean dramas are two opposite and unhealthy extremes. Denying people's sexuality and urges (especially true for women in kdrama) is just as bad as portraying them in an objectifying and abusive manner.

And if you want to "think of the children", think about how to best educate them and protect them from inappropriate content, so that when their body inevitably starts wanting sex, they can grow up with a healthy mindset and accurate information about it. If you plop them in front of badly made adult content without supervision, you only have yourself to blame.

As for liking to watch/hear about/imagine other people go at it, that has existed for a looooong long time and suppressing it hasn't made anyone happier. You can argue human nature is unhealthy and that we are dirty, sinful animals, but that's how the world spins. Good morals are not about denying our nature. They about understanding it, enjoying it and doing so without it being at the expense of others' or our own happiness.

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The more refined, classy treatment of sex is one of the reasons I was attracted to K-Dramas.
I know many here are cheering for more "realistic" and "I-can't-think-of-an-appropriate-adjective" adult themes. But I like the naivety I was first saw.

Stuff happens. I know stuff happens. I just don't need it to be graphically portrayed as I watch.

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Need to think more about what you say to give it the quality of response it deserves. But one impression comes quickly to mind.

The problem with sex education is that it's proven to do more to open the door to unhealthy sexual activity than it's done to close it. The rise in unhealthy adolescent sexual activity has correlated positively with exposure to sex education curriculum. And I'd say that advancing a child's exposure to sexual topics is like deliberately opening pandora's box. It piques curiosity. And makes exploration ok.

And a parent's advice will have far less traction when it contradicts the opinion of the peer group. Particularly when the child is at a stage in social development where they are naturally pulling away from their parents to establish themselves as independent individuals.

Not to mention the effect that emotionally unhealthy and broken homes have on the children of those homes. Those kids are far more likely to break with parental/adult guidance in order to gain the approval and acceptance of their peer group (as they seek to create a replacement for the support and stability that they should receive from a secure family unit) and get enmeshed in the pseudo comfort that a short term sexual 'relationship' provides.

Also, kids bodies' can start to 'want sex' long before their minds and emotions are ready to handle it. Not to mention the negative long-term emotional and relational impact that's created by having multiple - ultimately non-committed - sexual partners.

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@Wag_a_Muffin
Exactly my thoughts too.

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@Gidget, sadly sex ed is still incredibly flawed and often based more on the "science" of sex, rather than the social, personal etc parts. There is so much about sex that teenagers need to learn aside from how to do it.

But their curiosity is piqued anyway. Before the internet, there were magazines and tapes. Before that, there were smutty publications, novels etc. Children will try to make sense of what is happening to them and satisfy their needs. They cannot be stopped from it when that desire kicks in.

Educating them on it is not pushing them towards acting on it (in the form of sex). If anything, good education would also allow them to make better decisions on when and with who to do it. Especially since it's so easy to access such material nowadays, it's even more important for them to be educated on it. No matter what tv or entertainment in general show us, it is our close environment which will play the biggest part in how we face that. If we have role models in our lives who are mature, responsible and good at helping someone develop, they will raise open-minded people who can process and use information well.

As for 'secure family units', a divorce is not bad when the alternative is alienated, frustrated, bitter and possibly aggressive parents trapped in a loveless marriage. There is stigma, of course, but two healthy separated parents are better than a tense, miserable or even violent environment, as long as that separation is handled well and the children properly spoken to about it so as to not traumatize or confuse them.

Also, having had several partners is nothing bad. It's a choice. Having had no relationships is not bad either and neither mean you'll end up with a bad mate if/when you do find a permanent one. People are not all the same, relationships and life experiences are not. There is no easy answer to include everyone in and go "Now you will all be happy".

My point is, it is not up to you to decide what type of romance or how much sex makes a person happy or not. It is not up to entertainment either. That is why it's important for it to be realistic and inclusive, for it to explore and portray all kinds of lives and all parts of life. One can argue about the dangers of it when it idealizes or defends things which are by nature and by proof harmful (like sexual abuse), but the solution is not denying and demonizing sexual contact in general.

Finding a worm in an apple is pretty bad, but banning apples from life, movies and books isn't the solution.

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Again, thanks for your thoughtful post. I'll need to think about what you said (and create some time bandwidth to do it in).

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@Gidget, thanks for the nice conversation and offering another point of view.

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@Gidget - Just where are you getting this information?

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@Orion

Thank you so much for your comment on 'secure family units'. I can't even begin to tell you how much I despise the term, 'broken homes.' I might not have had a mother, but my family was never 'broken'; broken is having an abusive mother who bullies her husband and beats her children, a father who makes his son shiver in fear when he hears his footsteps coming down the stairs, a scar from childhood after receiving a bad report card.

Yet MY family's the one that's 'broken'. . .?

My family, with amazing grandparents, Aunts I could always talk to, cousins that were as close as sisters, siblings who understood me like no one else, a supportive father who taught me I can do anything I set out to do - if anything in our society has gone wrong, it's how we choose to categorize what makes something "healthy" and by contrast, "broken". I wouldn't change my family for all the "intact" families in the world.

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"I think both US shows and Korean dramas are two opposite and unhealthy extremes. Denying people’s sexuality and urges (especially true for women in kdrama) is just as bad as portraying them in an objectifying and abusive manner."

This pretty much says it all, the extremes in both are negative.

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@Thank You, I know that by personal and peer experience too. Nothing is broken when a child has love and guidance. Be it from a birth parent, adoptive one, family or even a stranger who becomes a guardian and role model. You need a close family environment filled with love and willingness to raise a thinking, kind and open adult. What that family was formed from or how many it includes does not matter.

Your family sounds wonderful and it is those who do not believe it can exist or who refuse to respect and portray it who miss out on the possibilities. :)

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@PlumWine
Voracious reader, here. Lots of diverse sources. And I don't know what exactly what I should drill-down on. At a glance, Kinsey Institute has some easy reference points. Happy to dig into the details in a couple of days if that data seems questionable.

I do know what I'm saying is at odds with popular thinking today...and in particular, what's taught in a lot of University level gender-studies classes.

When I've dug into the deep weeds of that content - by looking at study methodologies and having had an inside view of how it's been funded and promoted at meta level - I wasn't persuaded by the substance of many of it's arguments.

I don't mean for this short post to be rude...simply no time today to post more. :-)

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*claps* for Gidget and Wag_a_Muffin

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Complitely agree with you Orion. There is to be a middle way between the quasi pornography we see on western TV shows and the out of this world a-sexuality of K dramas...

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I agree. I love KDramas - they are not EXPLICIT but a good many of them deal w/real life grown up situations. It is just not SHOWN in detail. Like the blurred knives (really don't understand that) & the lack of gory violence - I am reminded of films like Psycho where all sorts of sordid stuff happened to those characters but we never really SAW it (that shower scene - OMG so scary - because it caused us to imagine the horror & thus feel it more). I grew up in the 50s & TV then never TALKED or ACKNOWLEDGED a lot of the real life problems of relationships or other controversial things. KDramas are not like that - even the fluffiest things at least acknowledge real stuff. I don't find American insistence on showing everything in graphic detail, plus having characters jump into bed w/each other immediately, realistic at all because these shows emphasize the nastiness of humanity w/o showing the way people actually interact. That's why I prefer KDramas despite all the cliches, etc.

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SLOW CLAP, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE

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it's more realistic because they show relationships that actually advance and has realistic problems.

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I see people saying that cable, especially tvn, is so much better all the time, but for me the vast majority of dramas that I find interesting enough to watch are still on the big three.

I suspect this is because cable channels tend to target a certain audience and carve out a niche for themselves, which is great if you're part of that target audience, but if you're not, you're less likely to find something to suit your taste on cable because there is less variety.

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I think the big three produce good dramas as well. Don't get why some people feel that Tvn is that much better. Of course, the main networks have some misses, but TvN is also hit or miss for me. They definitely have some good stuff, but there's also loads of fluffy or boring dramas that I have dropped.

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Oh, finally
they have hit drama, but the drama at the end take like 80 minutes long, like in reply 94 and misaeng,

their drama is not as good as people said, some of it have and if you have cable, it means because you want to watch some show from them, my mom use cable just to watch 1 show she particularly like when free channel can give you more type and free

so basically they'll tune up for the show their paid,

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Less dramas?

which basically means less roles for actors, which means the networks will probably keep blindly chasing the so-called popular stars for leads in those dramas......unless they actually learn their lesson and realise that scripts matter more.

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Agreed.

Place quality first. Star power is no longer enough.

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Star power still brings in viewers to check out the show - the quality differential in 99% of shows isn't so high that word of mouth would cause people to tune in and drive viewer ratings. So, like pogo, I agree that this change will do nothing but ensure that we only ever see the same few fan favorites doing dramas while the real top actors are off making movies.

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Star power isn't what it used to be, though - it still can't pull even Hyun Bin's latest drama past 5-6 percent in viewer ratings. (and even The King's Face, with prime time newbie Seo In-gook in lead, was pulling well past it by the end). Even Shin Ha-kyun's last drama couldn't keep up its initial high ratings in the absence of a coherent story. Contrast that to the rising ratings of Punch, with the highly-respected but far more low-key Kim Rae-won in lead, and I'd say quality does matter to viewers.

But I don't expect networks to learn that lesson, and I suspect they are going to continue throwing any star at the wall in the hope that one will stick. And we'll end up with younger talent (especially female) locked out of opportunities to advance their careers, while the main casting criteria will become "how many cfs does he/she have?"

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I agree that star talent doesn't ensure high ratings - it ensures that people give the drama a try but they will drop it like a hot potato if it's not interesting. Any reasonable person might conclude from this that it's better to make dramas that garner good word of mouth but the only guarantee that people will actually check out the drama from the perspective of TV stations will be the names attached to it. If HJM even had the quality of most middling dramas, I have no doubt that it would be doing 10+ ratings because the audience would have stuck it out.

Maybe what needs to happen is to film dramas ahead of time and do some kind of screen testing.

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exactly - the reasonable approach would be to try improved scripts and maybe hiring newer talent who won't be as expensive to pay but can deliver on talent and can engage a viewer through acting skill.

Unfortunately the networks are not good at seeing reason. Big star+decent quality script can produce a hit but they really think the second part is optional.

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the outcome could actually be good. when there is too much dramas the quality tend to drop. i am fine with a very low number of great writing and acting in a drama then thousands of fluffy childish dramas with random idols.

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NOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo

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Oh yes...The times are changing...they need to adjust. I mysef think that vice versa, they need to expand, after all there is a big market for k-drama in asia... and elsewhere. mabye they should try their hands even more in indirect advertising and such... hell, my mother in far hungary cannot live without her weekly dose of kdrama

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Indirect advertising? Uh, they've already been doing--relying--on it: it's called PPL (product placement) and it ruined maybe not specific dramas, but the drama production landscape as a whole. It's also the reason why new talents couldn't get a breakthrough: advertisers want blank, Botox-filled faces with "endorsing power" in dramas, not actors. And Kim Eun-sook's dramas ("The Heirs," "A Gentleman's Dignity," "Secret Garden") are a case study of how PPL sucks, and they're being looked up to as the industry model because of how successful they were in the ratings game.

(A few dramas where PPL was glaring but at least did not detract too much from quality: "The Greatest Love," "That Winter, The Wind Blows," "Wonderful Days," "Tomorrow's Cantabile")

There. Sorry for the rant. Haha. Peace out! Also feels nice that KDramas are starting to be recognized in Europe, even if only by a niche audience.

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It's really not my field but I think the 'korean vawe' has a rather big audience. .. in china, s.america, the middle east... I think it has big future, despite the plastic surgery & bottox ;-) but if the main income is only ads of korean viewers, that's sad... as almost no one watches midweek when it is out...

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Shows getting 10 percent ratings for teams and stations that used to get 20 percent are more indicative of increase in viewer choices and options than a decrease in viewing quality, although long term, lack of funding will definitely affect quality. In fact, we've already seen several situations where production companies were unable to pay their bills for shows with comparatively decent viewership.

The target audience for dailies and weekenders is not the same as the target audience for week-night prime time, nor are the options much changed from what they ever were.

While the Big 3 reducing their output might temporarily resolve their money woes, long term this will just drive viewers increasingly to other options, where those viewers might previously have shown 'channel loyalty.'

In some very real ways, it seems that the industry might be seeing only trees, and not forest. It's likely that a complete revamp of the system is needed. The western system is struggling also, and their first attempt to recoup monetary standing was a heavy influence on reality shows. I do hope that Korea doesn't go that route.

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To me it seems like they might be going that route... I mean, SBS are cancelling one of their weekend timeslots and replacing it with new variety shows. They're cheaper to make, and potentially could get higher ratings too.

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"It’s likely that a complete revamp of the system is needed."

This is what I've thought. The problem isn't in the product or cost structure. It's that they aren't capturing the full revenue potential of their product.

The domestic live-broadcast ratings drive their revenue streams. But that's an outdated approach that no longer fits with either viewer habits or the global audience. One-third of millennials watch absolutely no broadcast TV. And that'll increase.

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So things like the following aren't hard to imagine:

Orienting some product placement toward globally recognized brands, not just domestic brands.

Integrate the drama's set design and costume/wardrobe choices with a reliable online shopping experience. Offer the actual items shown if the brand pays a placement fee. If not, do a "get the look" type offering of similar items. But earn money on all the sales. Even if it's via setting up an arrangement for vendors similar to Amazon.

Sell song downloads directly to the consumer. Produce soundtrack music videos. Or provide a space for the fandom to do that - without copyright sanctions - as long as they do it on the content owner's site. The site would generate revenue through ads. (Since they've effectively lost control of people using their content in these ways, why not try to harness it and make money off of it?)

Create ad campaigns that are coordinated with the drama's characters and world. For example, showing a character using a certain coffee maker in a scene in the drama. The coordinating ad would be a scene showing an idol using the same coffee maker living in the same neighborhood as the drama's characters. The idol could appear in the drama's coffee maker episode saying hi to the drama character while they both get their mail...or something like that. The ads would be ads, but would also expand the world of the show. This could limit clumsily repetitive use of product placement within the drama. And it might create a healthy actor-idol ecosystem. Let the actors do most of the acting. Let the idols do the 'acting' in the drama's offshoot ads. Keep the fandoms engaged by working in more of their biases via surprise guest appearances.

Maybe none of that is workable. But what I'm saying is that they need to start thinking outside the box about ways to make money.

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Put lead who actually can act not actors who aren't good in acting, like "Blood" leads and of course less idols.

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You are missing the point .Hyde,Jerkyll and Me has star actor yet ratings is very low.

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Bad shows will typically garner bad ratings. Having 'star' actors gets your foot in the door as an audience will typically stick it out for dramas that aren't offensively bad or boring.

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Honestly, I don't think audiences are that willing to blindly watch big stars in just anything now. The drastic tumble HJM ratings (not high to begin with) and Mr Baek ratings (started off at 14 percent, declined steadily to end at around 8) is proof of that.

Casting a top star may get a foot in the door but if the drama doesn't have a decent script and story, the audience is equally likely to reject you and kick that door shut in your face. Now if only the networks would get this through their heads.

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I think Blood cast are good because Ji Jin Hee who is an ace actor also falls short of expectation and it is mostly the Director's fault who is unable to tap the potential in the actors. Blood leads are doing good work surprisingly as far as I see. first 2 episodes were a bit painful to watch esp. GHS but her acting got better and I can actually appreciate her 'method acting' now.

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Are u keading me?? Goo hye sun's acting is horrid, even ahn jae hyun is better than her, and thats not a compliment! "method acting" my a**! Who the hell does she think she is? Freaking Daniel Day Lewis or Meryl Streep? She needs to get her act together and speak normally and stop overacting!!!

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LOL

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oh, thank you for the laugh! :)))

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Not kidding but why the hate speech? Relax... I feel it this way and I get what you see. First 2 episodes like mentioned was hard to process esp GHS but after a while, I got used to her acting and I could actually see a different side of her. I can actually see her effort of changing her mannerisms and tone. At first I couldn't get over the high pitch voice and her haughty acting which she imbibed for her role as Dr. Ri Ta but after reading her interview, I actually saw things in a new light and could appreciate the effort she put in. She actually doesn't feel like the old GHS. It is method acting, you like it or not and NO need to be so rude to others who has different opinion than yours. World doesn't think, feel and see alike.

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@kaybee

I am with you though I am not liking her acting very much still people have different point of view and preferences, but some sadly don't understand that , that comment was too much !!!

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GHS and "method acting" in the same sentence.

I'm dead. This joke is almost as good as the "what colour is the dress" debacle happening on the internet right now.

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I didn't watch GHS before and I jumped directly to ep 4 to watch blood .... Acting was just okay, bearable , at least I can tolerate GHS but HJM is repelling in HJI !!!!

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I never liked season series, i like Kdramas because in 20 episodes you watch the story, but seriously i don't like the idea of season series.

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Yes .. I like kdramas for their less no of episodes :)

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What's causing the decrease in viewer percentage? As far as I know, the ratings are the % of people watching tv. So, what else are people watching?

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Slepping xddddddddddd, korean people works so hard.

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IMO, there's been a lack of quality dramas. A couple years ago, I was watching several Korean dramas at a time. Watching less dramas partly has to do with my change in taste, but I think the poor quality of dramas also might be a reason.

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So so true. A few years ago, there were always sthg good to watch; I had to make time for them, give up sleep!

Now there is hardly anything worth following. When I've nothing to do, I try hard to Find sthg to watch, n it feels like scrapping the bottom of the barrel. There is hardly anything at the top of the barrel, so sometimes I prefer to twiddle my thumbs.

Tried hard to get into Hyde J Me cos of Binnie. Twiddling my thumbs is more fun, at least it doesn't make me want to pull out my hair. As sb observed above, star power gets the audience in the door. Star power stuck in a stupid script n lousy directing makes viewers escape in droves as evidenced by nosediving ratings.

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Until they figure out the reasons for low viewership, playing around with the structure still may not work. Probably many factors are at play. It must be said that the ease of watching dramas streamed online cannot be disregarded. Guess they cannot keep losing money.

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I think a big role plays the fact that people in general dont watch tv that much anymore, it's not that they don't watch dramas. It's that they watch them online on their free time. Additionally the majority of the people that watch tv are the older generation, that's why family dramas and makjangs still get high viewership!!! Also viewers have higher standards nowdays and star quality alone doesn't attract viewers when the drama itself is crappy!! Ehhm looking at u hyun bin!!

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I think you're right about younger people relying on the internet and majority of the people still watching tv are older people. My grandmother and aunts watch tv, but cousins don't. Considering that Korea is a country that relies heavily on the internet compared to other nations, the big 3 might have to rely on their own sites like Hulu to make money. I'm not sure if they have dramas available on their sites or other sites like Netflix.

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I ended up getting rid of my TV and cable about 2 years ago when I realized we hadn't turned it on in 8 months. Not to mention, some people may be working during that time. If they could figure out internet watching both local and globally, I think they might be pleasantly surprised.

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People are also watching online as well, so they have to keep up with the streaming ratings, but some don't even bother.

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I think that is one of the problems. If the networks don't acknowledge and track the streaming market, then they can't take advantage of online popularity.

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The same number of people watching double or more of the offerings available (more channels, internet viewing, tape delays, etc) will result in lower ratings.

100% divided by 3 is always going to give a higher number than 100% divided by 5, or 7, or 10.

Why is this not obvious? Increasing quality will improve numbers sporadically, but not permanently. The game has changed. The old days are gone. 40 (and even 20 is a stretch) is probably just not a realistic percentage to use anymore.

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Maybe people are no longer watching on tv but online. At their own free time.

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YFAS peaks at nearly 30% and ever since then, no miniseries kdrama has hit 15%.

I mean yeah YFAS was good, but not that good far out.

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It's Okay, It's Love got 16% rating though.

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That's probably Seoul ratings. Nationwide, IOIL peaked shy of 13% (Pinocchio pulled past that mark, and Punch managed to end shy of 15% hallelujah!)

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Really I searched it before , it's okay that's love got 9.9% avg !!!!!

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The diminished ratings don't mean the viewers aren't watching, it means there are multiple drama with high quality content airing. And lets not forget the increase in web viewing of the dramas. Neilson rating doesn't consider those from marketing point of view but those two play key role in the overall system, cutting down dramas may not do the trick. And yes, people need to start realizing talent and high profile actors can fail if the content is bad, this should be the biggest lesson from 2015 dramas that started at the beginning. Everyone wants the big stars but forget that content, chemistry between leads all of those matter equally.

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why hasnt cutting down the length of drama episodes and series been considered? so many dramas i saw where they dragged near the end or the eps felt bloated or draggy in parts during scenes clearly there to pad time. like even dramas i LIKE i am sitting there thinking "u know, this could have concluded a couple of eps ago.."

tbh i'm a bit wary of doing Seasons and the like. i already barely watch US dramas cuz 90% of them are crime procedurals. both genres i hate but put it together....
its rough, and the problem with seasons is it limits the type of story options cuz while plenty of premises can last a season or maybe 2 if ur lucky very very few can carry up to 5-6 seasons without becoming rote/repetitive/lose dramatic tension.

More commercials are also an option (a sad one but...) they could also just flat out spend less money. like you dont NEED huge budget to make a great drama. you really dont. same with you dont need super expensive "top stars" either. the viewership and expectations have changed.

idk i can see how this is a problem but i think there's alot more options available to them to fix said problem before going as far as cutting most of the programming or relegating dramas to weekends or creating some absurd trade offs schedule with the competing stations.
competition is good! use it to try more creative outputs! and for the love of god NO MORE CHAEBOLS!

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Cutting down length of the drama with commercials during the episode might be a good idea for them. As long as I don't have to watch them, I'm good.

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I actually disagree on many of your points.

(1) Drag in the second half ...

That cannot be solved by compressing the second half of the drama, usually, without major changes in the overall dramatic composition (this depends heavily on the genre, though). To do that, you need good writers and a lot of thought, and you need time. With the real-time writing/filming system in Korea, especially for the second half, that's not possible.

(2) Multiple seasons

In theory, a one season miniseries should be an excellent format for cohesive story-telling. Procedurals are, effectually on the other end of the spectrum. But there are multiple-season miniseries formats in the US, especially in premium cable, too. And they are great, but also very difficult to manage and extremely expensive (we are talking here about >20 times more expensive than K-drama, per episode).

(3) Spend less money

That's not as simple as it sounds. A lot of dramas suffer from low quality filming, and that's because of time and budget restrictions. Especially in the later parts of dramas, there are many shots that are actually NGs and should never have been used in the broadcast, but because of managing constraints, they are used anyway.

(Money is not the main reason for this, though. Time management is a big issue, heavy overwork for the staff and actors, actors who lack the experience and professionalism, short notice changes in the production schedule that screws up set building, security issues on the set, etc.)

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(4) No more chaebols ...

I'd like to extend that to "don't tell the same stories with the same archetypes again and again and again". Cutting down the number of miniseries dramas might not be a bad idea when the very few creative ideas come from cable productions anyway ...

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Yeah, no more chaebols, geniuses, wrist grabbers, fainting because he touched me damsels, broken shoe heels propelling damsel into chaebols arms, put the Candy out to pasture too.

More? Manically bitchy mother in laws, blood coughing illnesses, brain cancers, Nobel idiots ( both sexes ), evil female second leads, whew ! Have I left anything out? Amnesia, saying a girl is fat when she weighs 90 lbs soaking wet. I' m hesitant to include birth secrets because that would wipe out 90% of all K dramas. Keep the Truck of Friggen Doom though, I think that has the Grim Reaper's official seal of approval.

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Or they could write better stories and make better shows with better actors, rather than chase after ratings in panic and ruin even the shows that do start off well by effing up the plots.

Also, get new audiences. You can't make a medical rom-com thriller with fantasy and family elements and cast 1-2 useless actors to be babysat by a few good ones. You don't please your steady television audience, who prefer and have their weekend soapies, and you also don't please younger and more demanding folks.

Learn to make different genres in different shows, rather than trying to make every show appealing to everyone.

And find ways to monetize the services people use instead of television. Making less won't fix this live filming system or take technology backwards. It's the systems of making, monetizing and evaluating that need change. It's quality and diversity which need to increase. All they'll get through this is fewer unsuccessful shows and maybe a temporary breather. So I hope they will find more long-term solutions during that time, if they do go ahead with this.

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Some of the best written K-dramas ("Miss Korea", "Discovery of Romance", "The Man Who Can't Marry"), etc. didn't get much of a viewership whereas some of the highest rated K-dramas (such as "Secret Garden) had just awful writing.

Even YFAS's writing was just OK - better than the typical cliche-filled, stereotypical soap opera-ish drama, but relying more on its star power (esp. JJH's funny performance) and soap opera-ish elements than anything else to pull in the ratings.

The problem is the same as in the US, as the networks have seen ratings slide for their scripted shows.

There are just more choices and better shows on cable or nowadays, from online sources (Netflix, Amazon).

"Lost" is like the last network show I watched on a regular basis.

Since then, it's been all cable shows (TGOT, "Breaking Bad", "Orphan Black", "The Walking Dead", "The Americans") and it'll take me a while to catch up on all the others that are on my watch list ("Orange is the New Black", "Homeland", etc.).

Same goes w/ K-dramas - know I have a better chance of watching a show w/ good writing on tvN or OCN than the Big 3 (everyone once in a while, there is a show on the Big 3 that garners my interest and doesn't disappoint, but only a couple of time a yr).

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Amen. I couldn't agree with this post more even if I had written it myself.

I also think that things will get "worse": The successful shows will become even more formulaic, the viewers who are more interested in certain qualities or diversity are much more flexible with their viewing channels anyway.

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Also, we have to keep in mind that Koreans devour not only Hollywood films, but American TV shows as well.

"The Big Bang Therory" "Friends', "Seinfeld", etc - a lot of (younger) Koreans have watched them and certain shows like "Prison Break" were much bigger in Korea than they ever were in the US (Kim So-ru shouted out "Prison Break", along w/ "We Are the World" - at the end of the FO band singing as the few English words he knows still cracks me up).

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Yep, it's sadly not just one easy to address issue that makes a hit. There is no recipe for success, but their current method of throwing everything in is clearly not the trick either. That is why they need to approach and convince new audiences too. That's basically what I say in the rest of my text. Diversity, quality.

There are folks who like their soaps and don't care much about the quality and those are already catered to. The problem is that many of these new shows are attempting to be everything and please everyone. They end up not being good enough for any side, by being half-baked like that.

Those who want good writing, better quality acting or more diverse and inclusive content look elsewhere or watch through alternative means. Those means also need to be taken into account and made more profitable.

The "solution" they have come up with only make productions even more desperate to sell and therefore even more limited. They are basically going back into their shell, because it is easier to do. I hope that there are better solutions being developed to address these problems in a better way, but until I see them, I'll personally be quite worried.

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I am glad as a viewer who is busy but loves Korean dramas. There are just so many of them that I am unable to keep up and it is frustrating. Now lesser dramas means, I can go through them with less angst and decide which one to finish and which one to leave half way.

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People are still watching shows thr way ratings are calculated. Ends to change.

A lot of people are watching on their mobile device and streaming it. Does that count? People are also watching on demand. If you are waiting for people to all sit in front if their tv and watch a show like they did before their viewing habits changed, you will be waiting a long time.

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This is exactly what I was thinking. Rather than figuring out how to make broadcast tv profitable again, they need to figure out how to make money off of streaming and downloads. Because it's not like people are going to go back to watching broadcast tv no matter what they do.

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So, I have often wondered how sajeuks are funded as you really can't have product placement. I suppose the commercials airing along the these types of dramas can and do contribute, but it is not quite the same as Jo In Sung getting a glass of water from his nifty water purifying gadget written into the drama itself.

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They do have PPL in sageuks. The hanbok (traditional korean clothing) that they wear is usually a specific brand and most of the hanbok also looks like it doesn't belong in the dynasties anymore either. Some of the things they ware in sageuks would have never been worn back in the day.

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Hi LinLin,

Many thanks for pointing that out! I just assumed that the costume staff of the specific drama were creating these and not buying them.

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Yes, but can't believe that's significant $$ in any manner.

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Perhaps they should do something like Netflix for each of the networks - have local Koreans be able to watch dramas online (while also preserving any adverts shown) or have some sort of subscription system to disable ads. At the same time, of course, they can still screen the episodes on TV.

(Note: I have no idea how Netflix works but I just assume it's something like Dramafever)

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netflix users stream ad-free (not like dramafever,, where you have to watch ads every 5 minutes). also unlike dramafever is that usually, netflix gets back catalog licences, so most television content isn't currently airing.. to give a fictional example [fictional because idk whats currently airing] say a show called "mismatched" is currently airing its 6th season. netflix would have seasons 1-5 available, but might not add the 6th season until its done airing, depending on their contract with the distributor.

tl;dr dramafaver or hulu work better for your example :p

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you can watch dramafever ad free if you pay, just like netflix (which you also pay for). Hulu is different from dramafever, as for dramafever you only watch ads if you're watching it for free. With hulu, even after you pay, you still have to watch ads; you just get to watch more shows/eps. Ugh I hate hulu but can't do without it.

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To be honest, I don't think online views is an issue. I never watch a local show online if I'm in my own country. It's always the TV over the internet.

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It's been shown that many younger viewers are choosing to watch their dramas online now. You may not watch your country's shows online, but in Korea it's happening & the ratings system has to be fixed to include the ones who are choosing this option.

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how are ratings counted? i've read that research companies like nielsen use two or three thousand households to determine ratings trends but idk how accurate that is..

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The thing is, if people like the dramas, they'll watch it on TV. It's a simple as that. It's not as if the primetime dramas clash with work time or stuff. If you have to watch it online, it just means that you are part of a minority.

You can't really say "it's happening" even if you are Korean. Clearly there is a more fundamental reason. Taking into account online views doesn't change the fact that people are not watching TV. It's just going to make ratings fall a little easier to swallow.

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I am older and I watch everything online. It is cheaper to subscibe to a few sites that the family likes than to pay for cable.

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Me too

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Different country, different habits.

Now there are ways of watching shows over the internet and still on your big, lovely tv set. You can also stream TV channels through the internet on your television. The question is, do those devices that measure ratings from your home count them in this case or do they just measure the terrestrial and cable signal?

But aside from that, Koreans use phones/tablets and such a lot. With their internet speeds, it's no problem streaming or downloading stuff anywhere. So you can always watch when and where it's best for you, rather than follow network schedules.

If there are no solid systems of measuring and compiling that data, and advertising through the services you use to get to the content isn't yet big, then it's no use.

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There's no reason to stream TV on TV, you might as well just switch over to that channel. Plus, the networks and advertisers are really only interested in domestic viewers and online ratings can be influenced by overseas viewers since they don't put a block on IP. Downloads don't matter at all since people will just skip over the ads.

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That's my point. People are watching in ways other than by following the first broadcast through television, but the systems to measure the online ratings, monetize downloads and expand virtual advertising are moving slower than the technology and viewer habits.

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My point is actually that downloads whatever have been happening for a few years already. Monetizing all of this is going to earn more for broadcasting companies but the truth is that not many people are catching on their dramas nowadays.

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On a side note, I'm not sure if public broadcasting companies are even allowed to monetarise their shows other than receiving advertisment revenue.

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I don't have data on how many (locals) are watching dramas in comparison to the past, but given the new options, I think not knowing that is part of the problem. It has been spoken about before, that online ratings and figuring out the size of those audiences is an issue.

We know people do watch dramas in many ways and that is at least part of the reason the ratings are dropping, but it's difficult to know how big a part. In a post of mine above, I do speak about this being only a fraction of the issues that need addressing (most of which only insiders know and can do), but is sure does, otherwise they're going in blind.

As for monetizing through download, since advertising is not yet a way, perhaps if some digital download only extras were presented (since it's free to watch content in Korea), many would take that offer up. Those who don't follow the first broadcast or reruns clearly need more convincing, more suitable content or just cannot watch tv at the time.

Technology, advertising and content need to go with the times and if users have a need, they will cover it in any way possible, whether that way helps earn the makers money or not. It's up to those makers to find ways of getting people to watch and earn them money through whatever means they choose to do so.

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Most public broadcast companies are only allowed to charge for license (well, the places I stayed at before), basically an annual fee per year. I think South Korea should be the same. The revenue from charging for extras only may not cover the cost needed to set up the infrastructure in the first place as well, especially since demand for extras is not that high in general. A quicker option will be to impose an IP restriction for their official streaming websites - not so good for international viewers but at least the company can use that to boost advertisement revenue since they can consider the online ratings "official".

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I wonder if there are ways to monetize through foreign companies in that way. What I mean is, a site like Viki shows me targeted, Finnish ads, since I live in Finland.

Could a similar method be used to make sure there will be at least some flow of money from all who watch through the local services? Of course, you could make separate services for foreign viewers too, like the ones we do have. I mean, most of us need subtitles anyway, so not that many watch live streaming of dramas, unless very eager to see a star they admire.

But it seems they are beginning to think about those restrictions and how to best make profit through digital means. The whole local Youtube ban that happened recently shows that. Better money by keeping locals to local services.

I do think the dropping ratings will force them to look into the why and the solutions, but panic is a wicked thing and so are the moves made from it. I guess we will be finding out what they have planned as the months go by. A lot of changes happened in the last 2-3 years. Local, global and even in the big markets they export to.

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Why not like Japanese dramas: good plot and less episodes 11 or 12

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Shorter miniseries means higher costs per episode. 3 dramas a 20 episodes are much cheaper than 5 dramas a 12 episodes.

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Jon G is right. Overhead costs are spread out across more episodes when the dramas are longer. So it makes more sense financially to produce longer dramas.

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In addition, Japan has more than double the viewership of South Korea so the advertising $$ is greater (which is why so many K-pop groups want to make it in Japan; kinda like all the British groups wanting to make it in the US).

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I see the J dramas always mention 5 or 6 companies at the beginning and half way point of the show. I don't know if they subsidize the shows or what. Anyone know how the J system works ?

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The good dramas are always in TvN, OCN, JTBC

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The lack of high ratings comes down to this: it's 2015 and people have more access to all kinds of intertainment than ever. Kdramas have exploded on the internet with subtitles in many languages, and more people are watching them than ever. The same can be said for Korea. Koreans can get access to intertainment from all around the world now, with subtitles in Korean too. So maybe the lack of raitings is just this: Koreans are looking to other forms of intertainment to satisfy their wants. Let's be honest here: even as foreigners, we have been board and unimpressed with the dramas that have been coming out lately. So maybe it's just this: the world is changing.

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Yeah, this probably will just make things worse. The big 3 will just keep doing the crap they are doing, but doing it even more since there is less slots to do in it.

Improving quality would go a long way to improving ratings. There is the occasional gem that is well written lately (like KMHM) that gets a lot of buzz online and low traditional ratings, but most people aren't paying attention to weekday dramas anymore.

They need to lure viewers back. Less shitty idols and/or people who can't act in general and less relying on star power to get people to tune in. They need better writing and more concise story-lines. I wonder why they haven't considered doing 10-12 episode dramas like jdoramas. If they flop there is a quicker way out at least.

Finally they need to revamp how they do ratings and/or make more money online with streaming. That doesn't totally solve the problem though. The audience is still there watching some shows on TV (see tvn), but they just aren't wasting their time on the weekdays.

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Quality doesn't means profit. In fact you have to pay quite a bit to get good scripts/script-writers, everyone is trying to make the Korean drama producers like dumb asses who don't understand about how good script, directing and acting is important. But at what costs?

Everyone here is just looking from their point of view of watching good Korean dramas from the comfort of their non-paying (or paying little) screen, sans advertisements of course.

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It's possible they should spend less on actors and more on writing. Writing is the main issue that causes all the problem with kdramas tbh. But it's not like kdrama actors are really paid all that much either. Most of them are worth what they get paid too. Something has to change though.

But yeah, you are right. I watch on Viki for nothing so I can't really judge what they do.

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But what you claim as an 'occasional gem' in KMHM is still doing worse than many mediocre dramas in the past year like Pride & Prejudice, Nightwatchman, YAAS and Doctor Stranger. So its obviously not as simple as better writing and acting.

Star power is still the reason people will give most dramas a chance, but for it to sustain you need a good script and PD. Also, shorter dramas isn't what SK's tradition. What works for other countries isn't necessarily beneficial to others. The very reason they are trying to cut off dramas is because it is expensive tho produce short dramas unlike weekenders and dailies. How is it a solution to cut off the episodes even more?

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I think it's more there is so much crap people aren't going to waste their time period. KMHM has great online buzz but normal people aren't watching it. When the freaking fishing show 3 Meals a Day on tvn has 14% ratings you know there is still an audience who actually do sit and watch TV, the big 3 just lost it awhile ago. Maybe people are doing other things. Even tvn only has a the rare gem for really high ratings as well.

Star power is important, but it's not the only thing they should rely on. You mention YAAS and without the cast it would have been mostly a flop. You need star power to get people to watch, but you have to rely on writing to get people to stay. I meant more along that people hire Hyun Bin for a project with shitty writing and expect people to tune it. Just doesn't work.

I don't really get why it's beneficial to greenlight a 20 episode show like Blood when they could do something shorter...

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Yes, I'm sure there are tons of 'crap' people aren't wasting their time on, thus the overall drop in ratings. But just like people are ready to watch tvN when something good is on, they will quite easily come back to the Big 3 if they get something even half as great as YFAS or IHYV. Its not as simple as "shitty writing" is sinking the boat because if thats the case, P&P as well as Nightwatchman wouldn't be #1 in its slot. There's genre preferences and many other things that dictate ratings than just 'shitty writing'.

"You need star power to get people to watch, but you have to rely on writing to get people to stay."

Yes, thats exactly what I said above and is precisely my point. You still need star power to get the hype and also the overseas selling rights which again funds for the overall drama. Hyun Bin might not be able to get the Korean audience to watch HJM, but that doesn't mean the drama didn't earn big overseas. Because he's still Hyun Bin. If it had been a lesser actor, that would obviously not be the case.

"I don’t really get why it’s beneficial to greenlight a 20 episode show like Blood when they could do something shorter…"

Because they can't see the future and therefore can't tell what'll work and what won't. Its a contract they sign of 20 episodes before a drama airs and it is written by the Good Doctor's writer - a drama that broke 20% a year and a half ago. If they just red-lighted every drama that was expected to flop by some people, then KMHM wouldn't get see the light of the day with all the negative press. Less than 16 episodes is not SK's style. Different audiences, different references.

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It's not about people watching using other medium like through online, but that the bottom line is hit as advertising is the MAIN source of income that feeds the ever rising production cost. Online income doesn't cut it Competition has made it very difficult to balance the budget, not to say make a profit.

That is why the Answer Me franchise is the model drama to the networks, low budget hit.

So best solution? Cut the number of dramas, which is a way of reducing competition, by not competing at all!

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