An article in K-ent is making waves this weekend and just in time for the finale episodes of It’s Okay to Not be Okay. The article (click here) looks into the Netflix investment and expansion into its K-drama offerings starting from 4 years ago, a concerted effort to license dramas to stream and get into the co-production of dramas so it owns the streaming rights as well for perpetuity. That strategy has fully paid off in 2020 with COVID-19 leading to more people watching shows at home and no movies to watch. The big hits in the first half of the year include It’s Okay, Crash Landing on You and Itaewon Class, for example that article said that on Netflix Japan’s ranking as of August 6th, three K-dramas were ranked in the top 5 (Crash in 1st, It’s Okay in 2nd, and Itaewon in 4th). Also this week It’s Okay landed in Netflix worldwide rankings at #6.
The article further discusses how even countries that have issues with South Korean, such as Japan, find viewers saying they have issues with Korea but they are watching the K-dramas. Compared to the episodic style of US shows and even Japanese doramas, viewers like that K-dramas well one continuous story through all episodes. Mainland China has also lifted the restriction it placed 5 years ago, and is allowing airing of South Korean shows starting from varieties and that also helps spread this new generation of Hallyu entertainment. Netflix head of Korean content discussed how they make an effort to product a wide genre and different variety of K-dramas from romance, thriller, slice-of-life, fantasy, to even zombie horror, and is pleased that hit shows are even getting the US adaptation treatment such as Hotel Del Luna.