Hein Kaiser
Journalist
3 minute read
21 Feb 2021
10:00 am

Why are we so obsessed with K-pop culture?

Hein Kaiser

K-Pop and K-Drama, as the country’s content has become known, has seen a wave of global interest, so much so that it has prompted Multichoice to dedicate an entire channel to it.

tvN Africa is Multichoice's latest offering to quell K-pop and K-drama enthusiasts. Picture: supplied

It is the kind of entertainment that Pyongyang can only dream about; the opportunity to enjoy music and drama beyond a Kim Jong Il military parade.

South Korea’s television industry has been making significant global inroads since its deregulation in the 90s.

Like South Africa, Korean television emerged from a broadcasting duopoly to a mushrooming cable, terrestrial and on-demand streaming sector with its content slowly emerging as a major global influence.

Most recently, the hit Netflix show Snowpiercer was an adaptation of an originally produced Korean feature film. Now, South Africans will have the opportunity to indulge in everything Korean from 1 March when DSTV launches a new popup channel.

tvN Africa will be available on Dstv channel 134 and the line-up promises to make viewers’ time investment along with the subscription price increase well worthwhile.

According to Multichoice, K-Pop and K-Drama, as the country’s content has become known, has seen a wave of global interest as lockdowns and a sustained hunger for content has seen consumers trawl all corners of the earth for entertainment.

The surge in interest is called Hallyu Fever (the Korean Wave) and offers a slew of ‘relatable stories and slick productions.’ 

However, if Snowpiercer is anything to go by though, South Africans are in for some great entertainment.

“Delivering the tvN channel to millions of viewers on our continent is part of DStv’s commitment to bring the best of the world home. DStv customers can now explore South Korean lifestyle through tvN’s dynamic entertainment offering.

“Through the quality of its rich stories the channel broadens the already extensive range of viewing options we have on DStv for a variety of audiences,” says Yolisa Phahle Multichoice Group CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Video.

“We are continuously looking for ways to find and develop the best mix of content and value propositions that we can deliver to our customers who by their nature have different viewing needs.

“The appetite for Korean content has grown tremendously and this was a trend that became evident during the national lockdown.

“This was sparked by the global phenomenon known as Hallyu fever – also known as the Korean wave – which refers to the ever increasing global popularity of Korea’s cultural exports, which began with K-Pop music and now includes TV dramas, movies and skincare amongst others.”

Dramas include a romantic series called Another Miss Oh, a story about two women who share the same last name and the same romantic interest.

There is also Encounter, lip-synced to English, about a romance between an uncomplicated everyman and his relationship with a dynamic hotel chief executive.

K-Pop, or for the yet-to -learn-about all things Korean, is an hour-long music programme on Thursdays and Fridays that showcases, well, Korean pop music. I-Land is a Korean talent and variety show, where finding the next K-Pop boy band occupies a weekly slot on early Thursday evenings.

More to look forward to

A curious walkie-talkie sees conversation time-travel and connects a twenty-first century criminal profiler to a detective in 1989. Together, they solve crime in the hit Korean thriller Signal.

It is a daily broadcast during the week, late night, Monday to Friday. All content will be subtitled barring Encounter.

“The tvN channel forms part of the content we have been testing for the last few months and as a business we felt that this was the perfect time for us to bring this content on to our platform. The content on the channel will all be subtitled and a there will be a dedicated drama slot dubbed in English.

“The channel will start 1 March and run for 16 weeks as a pop up channel on Premium, Compact Plus and Compact packages on DStv channel 134 in our markets across the continent,” adds Phahle.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.