K-dramas to Shorten Running Time to 60 Minutes Going Forward to Cut Financial Losses

Yet another big change is coming for our beloved K-dramas, now finishing up the second decade of dominance since the spread of Hallyu in the early 2000s. Due to the many factors leading to the dwindling sale price of K-dramas overseas and viewership domestically, both of which hit the bottom line directly for production companies, K-drama lengths are being shortened to just 60 minutes an episode rather than the standard 67 minutes. This will save the production companies hundreds of millions of won per episode and all the networks and production companies have agreed to do this going forward. Looks like the dawn of pre-production is now heading to the daylight of shortened running times, and who knows what else to come as the increasing financial pressure mounts of Hallyu dramas.

Another positive result of the shortened running times per episode is a reprieve from the grueling live filming schedule if there is less air time to squeeze output. I expect to see even more PPL in the future to keep the industry afloat.


K-dramas to Shorten Running Time to 60 Minutes Going Forward to Cut Financial Losses — 32 Comments

  1. As far as I know, this will only apply for the Big 3 Networks. You know, the non-cable channels. But based on the pics you posted, you’re saying it will affect tvN, which is famous for very long episodes.

    From what I understand, it will only be for KBS, MBC, and SBS.

    • Aw man, really? TVN is really the one who needs this the most. I mean, 1.5 hour episodes for Reply 1988 and Goblin? That’s ridiculous!

      Honestly, it’s the main reason I had so much trouble continuing Goblin after ep 2. I was realizing how much I kept checking the time stamp toward the end of ep 2, wondering, “MORE? How has this ep not ended yet?”

      • That was because the first two episodes were actually three squished into two. I think the other reason why they felt too long was because the episodes didn’t end in the climax and because it continued it felt anti-climatic.

    • TVN needs it the most. Introverted Boss, Tomorrow with You feel too long and have unnecessary fillers. Goblin worked for the pilot but then the same shit happened, more and more fillers to stretch. And look at 1% of something, never dragged, episode length should be strictly limited to 45, max 50.

  2. Actually I’d be even more satisfied with a bigger time slash, to, say, 45 minutes. I still think 60 is too long, and that the industry as a whole should consider cutting out excess. Either that or shorten their series run to 15 episodes. This will actually help the writers to develop more coherent scripts.

    But I don’t speak for everyone, and I know others might throw a fit if this happened. I personally don’t watch enough kdramas to justify, but one reason for not watching is exactly because of messy scriptwriting. I buy actual scripts to read from shows and movies I love, so I’m just a bit nerdy when it comes to stuff like that

    • Exactly. Jdramas I believe run for only 45min, 1 ep per week with an avg of 12-16 episodes. From the ones I watched the plots are also to the point and straightforward with less fillers. I think kdramas can do it if they tried.

      • j drama mostly run once a week, 42-45 mnts per epi and just 9-12 maks episodes.
        I think its time to shortened the length of kdrama (episodes and duration)

    • They should take a cue from JTBC whose last few dramas have run only 12 episodes, allowing them to tell tighter stories with not a lot of fat for padding. Check out This Week My Wife Will Have an Affair or Age of Youth if you have not. Or even Solomon’s Perjury.

      • Hey, those series you mentioned are exactly the ones I’ve seen and liked! Just finished Hello My Twenties!/Age of Youth on Netflix last month. But 12 is a bit too short, even for a swlf-professed Jdrama nerd such as myself. It’s like falling in love with a guy who has a terminal illness. I know the end will come all too soon and dread it, and then go into mourning for months. That’s why I want that extra few episodes for the series to break it to me gently, and give me time to recover. I want a slightly lingering denouement. 15-16, 45-60 min episodes sounds just about right. *Selfish me*

  3. Not much difference in term of the running time but that would be a great start. I think they should shorten it to 45 minutes while keeping the current normal episodes length. Japanese dramas are generally too short and left not so lasting impact. Out of all my drama watching experience from various countries, I say the best was the Hong Kong’s TVB dramas back in the 90’s. HK TVB’s dramas back then were fast paced and very well-balanced.

    • I wouldn’t say all TVB series from the 90’s were great. If I feel that way, then it’s the nostalgia that’s clouded my memory because there were a lot of stinkers. BUT when they were good, they were really, REALLY good. For instance, even with the superfluous run that The Justice of Life (1989) had, I still felt like it was an amazing series overall, and one of the best viewing experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life.

      As for Jdramas, my experiences are vastly different. Their industry has proven to me that even a 15 minute script is doable AND can be successful, as was the case with morning drama’s Amachan (156, 15 minute episodes), and that a story of epic emotional proportions like Soredemo, Ikite Yuku could be done in 11 episodes.

      While writing all that… I just realized that it’s actually not the runtime that matters at all, but the scriptwriter’s talents. Kankuro Kudo (Amachan) and Sakamoto Yuji (Soredemo, Ikite Yuku) are some of the most adept writers I’ve ever come across.

      Korea, find better writers!

      • About finding better writers, it’s not like korea doesn’t have any, the big problem is that it’s the crappy writers who write a bunch of cliches and romance that are popular with the public and win the ratings war. I imagine that would make anyone aspiring to hit it big and keep their career to go with the trend. Adapting good webtoons/manwhas/novels/foreign-dramas is a good way to go except Korea has proven over that they can still mess something with a good source material and script up.

      • Cont…
        Adaption wise, they’ve had some successes too or at least fan favorites like Misaeng, the Good Wife and somewhat Liar Game which managed to switch things up a bit plot and story-wise from the typical Kdrama so definitely something.

      • I surely wasn’t referring to all TVB’s dramas but during that period, they generally churned out plenty of really good dramas. Hardly could find anything dull and delivered a lot of punches as well as balancing both the main plot and romance. J-doromas very direct with their plots which is why they could make things works even with short duration whereas K-dramas have too many subplot, less focus and excessive romance which make the dramas oftenly draggy. That is why I said, TVB’s dramas back in the 90’s being the best – they are the combination of highlights of both J-doramas and K-dramas.

    • You could guess what generation you’re from if you say tvb ’90s was the highlight of your drama watching decade. I felt by the 90’s tvb was actually beginning to go downhill.

      • I was born in the early 80’s. I grew up watching a lot of TVB dramas and the actors like Louis Koo, Jessica Hsuan, Gallen Lo are very familiar to me. I find many good TVB dramas back then, among my favourites are “War and Beauty”, “Cold Blood Warm Heart”, “Burning Flames”. I feel that they were fast paced yet addictive and you seldom see their plot dwindling by the later half and successful in maintaining the viewers’ interest until the end. Idk which generation you are from. But if you are referring to the TVB’s dramas in 1980’s which featured big stars like Tony Leung or Andy Lau, I was probably too young to actually get to watch them.

      • Lol! TVB 80′ and early 90’s and some early 2000 dramas were definitely the golden times of asian dramas. I can’t find anything similiar. Well 3 lives 3 worlds is pretty close, but director is from Hong Kong…

        The difference is that TVB back in those days have made their actor and actresses go through acting schools.
        That is why to this day, the most famous “artists” and memorable are from those days. Those were the time when “idols” were in full force…but idols meant triple threat of singing, acting, dancing and MC gigs. And they were actually good in all three, instead of the K-idols who really can’t act. Great actors and a good engaging script was the key, which sadly is not the norm these days.

  4. Old news. This has been in effect since October 2015. It’s more of a voluntary agreement than a hard law, which is why you will occasionally see an episode that goes over. It also does not affect weekend shows or anything on cable.

  5. I could easily go to 45 minutes because C-Dramas and J-Dramas have proven it is totally doable.

    I think the writers need to have 50% of their scripts done before starting the drama. So sure, they have put it a lot of work if they need to make changes, but how often does an Introverted Boss happen? Okay, now someone is going to tell me all the time ! Ha!

  6. I think 60 min can be good change considering now most of kdramas can actually end at ep12. This way they can minimize fillers and have tighter plot.

  7. It’s so doable for them. A big chunk of k-drama episodes are just fluff that’s not so important to the plot. If they can cut that out, they can definitely reach the 60 min mark. However, I do hope the cable shows hope on board too, the episodes were massive and it makes it easier for me to tune out.

  8. Not intending to offend anyone but just out of curiosity. A lot commented that K-dramas very draggy, full of fluffs and fillers. And that J-doramas and C-dramas that extend up to 45 minutes per episode with shorter episodes span are much better. But then, why in the world is K-dramas more appealing? I’m not referring to quality, but the demand for K-dramas still very high. We don’t get the same insanity level with Chinese or Japanese dramas. Surely, there’s some formula that actually works. Despite the repetitious failure of keeping the momentum, being draggy, and whatever else there is, people still coming back for more. But then back to the topic, whatever measures including cutting down the duration for the quality improvement wise is definitely welcoming.

    • I dont think kdrama more appealing than jdrama or cdrama. because, everyone has their own taste.
      But I think kdrama or hallyu wave make kdrama fans look bigger than cdrama or jdrama.
      Like Kpop or anything korean related right now

    • For me personally, i think k dramas have more realistic acting from the young to the old. For example when they cry, i cry with them and im someone who does not cry easily. You can tell that it’s not eye drops but real tears due to the gross dripping mucus and red eyes ad nose. Background music makes a drama that much more interesting too and i realise alot of asian dramas have started doing this. Background music esp for exciting or sad scenes make alot of difference. Storyline is also something that many people can relate to. I must admit tho that i have lost interest in k dramas these few yrs. The story just does not interest me anymore. Watching more taiwan and thai dramas these days.

    • To me China has filler in the # of episodes they have, not the run time. So many dramas that are solid go sideways because a 50 episode drama could have easily been 30 episodes.

      Having said that, they’ve kicked it up a notch. Eternal Love/Ten Mile Peach Tree just got 20 billion views in China and is getting much love on DF. I’ve been watching and it is really good so we’ll see how I feel post episode 50!

      Regarding C-Dramas, many cannot handle the dubbing.

    • You bring up a good point. For me, I tend to watch Jdramas because I like “human dramas” that don’t necessarily deal with romance. I also don’t mind seeing “plain” or frankly “unattractive” people. But it’s niche and not for everyone. That much has become obvious to me over the years. Apparently that’s why I almost never see anything written about amazing Japanese series on this site. I think I saw some posts ages ago for Rich Man, Poor Woman, which was pretty forgettable for me. The ones I love, that have changed my life, made me rethink my entire existence, just don’t seem to interest the majority. No matter how much I try to fight it, deep down I know that Romance is a huge. People lap it up, and it’s what most find important in life. And South Korea knows how to market this genre damn well. They are like the Apple or Steve Jobs of the drama world.

      Sure, other countries have amazing stuff as well, but just like most people think Samsung ripped off Apple, without realizing that that isn’t always the case, K-Ent just knows how to brand themselves and their otherworldly-photogenic starlets better than these other countries.

      But there are great dramas coming from South Korea that are not solely focused on romance, like Misaeng. It’s just few and far inbetween. I want to see more original content like that, so that even my boyfriend will watch with me. *Being selfishly hopeful once again*

    • Honestly? Kdramas are simply much more manipulative than jdramas. Some scenes are constructed specifically to generate certain emotions and stimulate reaction from the viewers. As opposed to jdramas that actually focused on conveying the characters’ story and internal turbulance, it wasn’t its intention to make you cry or swoon or angry. Well it’s just one method of delivering a story compare to the other, coincidentally one could easily hooked viewers compare to the other. Downside is kdramas seem satisfied to only reach the surface of the matters as opposed to jdramas. Each has their own fans, depend on what the viewers are looking for in their entertainment.

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