As an extension of its glorious honor of getting an average grade of 9.91 out of ten, the Naver webtoon, “A Love Cell” written by writer Myeonghyeon Kim returned to readers as a form of drama, but only as an on-line webdrama. This webdrama was part of the new issue of November and now it is expecting overseas expansion by making contract with the U.S. on-line streaming site “Dramafever.” The Sungkyun Times (SKT) introduces the concept of webdrama to readers and recommends some latest webdramas that readers might enjoy.
What is “Webdrama?”
Webdrama is a relatively new concept of web media sources meaning a drama only opened on-line or mobile platforms, such as Youtube, Naver TV Cast and Daum TV Pot besides television channels. It is also called “mobile drama” or “Social Networking Service (SNS) drama.” Webdrama was first made last year, and it is recently being spotlighted. Webdrama components are diverse since there is no regulation in producing webdrama. The length of one series of webdrama is various from four or five episodes to twenty episodes. The running time also varies from five minutes to twenty with most running less than twenty minutes. Materials for webdramas are almost equally diverse compared to those for the existing television dramas such as love, youth recruitment, and even vampire thrillers. Normally, idol singers or actors and actresses of the Korean Wave star in webdrama, because it is important for the drama to be briskly advertised on everyone’s tongue on-line through SNS or individuals’ blogs. Just like webtoons, each webdrama differs in the releasing time and frequency.
Why is it Suddenly Sky-rocketing?
The media ecosystem is changing, at tremendous speed, and is being destructed and reassigned. According to research done by Future Creation Ministry of Science, this September, the total number of smartphone users exceeded forty million. As the distribution rate of smartphone rapidly increases, so does the amount of mobile contents usage. Since the number of people watching television dwindles day after day, the television ratings are no longer meaningful to producers. There would be no end in stating reasons why this new media method is rocketing its way on-line. To describe a few, webdramas can serve as an entering path or a breakthrough for dramas that could not be organized in the regular television table because of the production cost and channel limitations. As mentioned before, more and more people are enjoying the mobile media contents and they want entertainment which can fit their spare time in their tight schedules. From the producer’s point of view, the production cost is a real attraction. The cost to make one season of webdrama and an episode of an existing television drama are practically the same. Also, product placement advertisement (PPL) is unrestricted on-line, which means there is a high possibility of sponsorship.
What Are Some Types of Webdrama?
Webdrama based on webtoon
Some webdramas are based on webtoons of the same title and content. Mostly, the large fan base of the original webtoon could have a positive effect on t h e popularity and success of the webdrama because many fans of webtoon are most likely to also watch the webdram. Some well known examples are “A Love Cell” and “Aftereffect.”
Webdrama made by enterprise companies
Unlike the original drama, webdramas can be made by any enterprises for various purposes. To illustrate, Samsung produced a webdrama which advertised Samsung’s employee incentive system and working environment. Samsung made a new category for the webdrama in their company blog, and carried out a survey on the webdrama. This survey included some questions dealing with the best scene and best lines, access route and further expectation of viewers; this means that Samsung is interested in producing their next webdrama shortly. The life style magazine, Singles, also produced their own webdrama this year celebrating its 10th anniversary. According to an interview, a member of the editorial department in Singles said that their team thought that the trivial fun of their lives was watching drama after work. They decided to make a drama and give their readers happiness of daily life via something unusual: webdrama. This drama, portraying the single life of a career woman working as an editor for Singles magazine, is appraised to be the one which well aroused Korean women’s empathy. Why are the companies trying to produce their own webdrama? Well, it is a type of culture marketing to convey a familiar image of a company. They are using webdram as a strategy of getting closer to their customers.
Webdrama targeting exportation
Since webdramas are not a concept that suddenly appeared only in Korea, some webdramas are exported to the U.S. or to China from the beginning. A notable example is “Dollhouse” which opened its video at the same time in Korea, China and the U.S. “Dollhouse” is now expected to open a new prospect of the Korean Wave with its unique genre: the very first horror webdrama. Some predict that the dynamic story line and thrilling suspense would perfectly fit the short-term aspect of webdrama. Even now, not a few production companies are wriggling their ways, searching for Korean Wave stars and getting connection with international entertainment such as “Taobao” and “Youku Todou,” huge enterprises in Chinese on-line platform.
[Body4] Some Noticeable Dramas in the Latter Half of This Year
<A Love Cell>
This drama was made based on the webtoon with the same title. “A Love Cell” drew attention before its launch for the cast in the drama. There were many famous actors such as Hyeok Jang, Woobin Kim and Sunho Park. Famous child actress Yoojeong Kim, an idol singer Jihyeon Nam and a singer of large fandom, Kyeongmin Hong also starred in it. Webdrama “A Love Cell” stands on an unusual imagination; the love cell escapes from the inside of the main character’s body and teaches him because if he does not love somebody, the love cell dies. Watch “A Love Cell” and see if the secret of its popularity is just all about star casting or something else. Each episode runs for about ten minutes on Naver TV Cast.
<A Better Tomorrow>
Min-A, who is a member of one of the most famous girl groups in Korea, and a currently trendy actor Kang-Jun Seo star as main characters, Mirae and Choego in this drama. Mirae is a young woman who is recently working as a new employee at Samsung. At the same time, she is working part-time at a lunch restaurant. Choego, an idol singer trainee, is also working at the same restaurant. “A Better Tomorrow” deals with their noisy farce of accidental cohabitation and their success in life in the form of musical drama. Each episode runs for about fifteen minutes on Naver TV Cast.
<Something Between Them(Sseomnam-Sseomnyeo)>
This drama has its catchy background set-up; if two participants fall in love and get married during the program, they receive one hundred million won as a marriage fund. This is similar with the SBS television program, “Mate.” Participating in the reality program, eleven ordinary men and women with different jobs and personalities seek love in their complex relationship for a week. Each episode runs for about fifteen minutes on Daum TV Pot.
Since webdramas are still in their infancy, no matter how successful some works are, it is premature to judge. Definitely, like other media contents, the most important part of webdrama’s popularity is getting attention. However, if it goes along with the drifting clouds or keeps targeting the youth with worn-out materials, webdrama might bring dishonor as a low quality drama. Although there is no doubt that not all features of it are on the plus side, one certain thing is that users make media and as more and more users get interested in it, it grows fast making its own history and know-how. Are you tired of scrolling down webtoons or hunting for some humorous videos? The SKT hopes you will find a suitable webdrama for yourself and enjoy your time.
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