Singer Bobby Kim (left )is currently in first place in the I am a Singer competition, after the 11th round that aired on December 25 (Photo:ETN). Social commerce websites Coupang (top right) and Ticket Monster (bottom right) ranked first and second, respectively, on Naver's top ten search terms of 2011 (Photos: Forward Ventures LLC, Ticket Monster).
Korea's media portals and think-tanks have joined in the flurry of year-end list-making, each offering their takes on the products, people, and events that defined Korea in 2011.
The Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) released its annual survey of the top ten consumer favorites for 2011 on December 7, based on an online survey of 7,725 SERI subscribers and an expert panel. The LG Economic Research Institute, in partnership with Daum Communications, looked at the most popular news articles published on the Daum internet portal to analyze the issues that shaped the interests and lifestyles of the Korean public during the past year.
NHN, which operates the portal site Naver, based its analysis of the year's social trends on the top ten most popular search terms, and for the first time since the yearly reports have been published, two separate lists were produced for PC users and mobile network users. In addition, social networking giant Facebook released a list of the top ten issues mentioned in "status updates" by users on its Korean language site.
According to the lists, one of the most closely and widely followed trends in Korea this past year was the rise of "survival audition" music programs. MBC's I am a Singer, which brought a diverse ensemble of top singers long recognized for their vocal prowess and performance skills to one stage, came in first on the top ten lists of both Daum and Facebook and placed third and fourth on Naver's and SERI's lists, respectively.
With a fresh combination of friendly competition, human drama, and technically and creatively refined performances, I am a Singer continued to sweep weekend ratings during its entire first season, casting the comeback spotlight on the careers of many of its participants. The "survival audition" television genre also saw the viewer-acclaimed third season of Superstar K, which also made the Daum, Naver, and Facebook lists. The remakes of pop classics that appeared on I am a Singer and Superstar K, performed by new faces like the rock act Ooh La La Session, steadily topped music charts throughout the year. According to the report by Daum and LG, these programs found popular appeal across gender and age groups.
Following in the wake of the successful run of Superstar K2(pictured), Superstar K3 premiered in August 2011 (Photo: M-net).
In the technology sector, the biggest item of the year was the smartphone. Even in the absence of any substantive reports concerning its release, the iPhone 5 appeared on all of the top ten lists, while late Apple visionary Steve Jobs was selected as the number two "consumer favorite" in 2011 by SERI. The Samsung Galaxy S II joined the iPhone on the SERI and Naver lists. Having sold 1 million units within the first month of its domestic release and over 10 million units in the US and Europe in the first five months of its international release, the device received SERI's commendation as a testament to the strength of Korea's capabilities as a global IT leader.
In addition, with the global financial crisis having left individual customers eager to cut back on expenses, products and innovations that helped encourage more saving and less spending won widespread interest. Social commerce sites Coupang and Ticket Monster, which provide an abundance of information on group savings and product discounts, secured first and second place, respectively, on the top ten search terms on Naver.
The free smartphone text messaging application Kakao Talk, which ranked number three on SERI's consumer favorites list, began connecting users in March 2010, and by November of the same year, counted 30 million users. "Jumbo-size" and "half-price" designations produced by retailers and marketed a
s lower cost alternatives to existing name brands, also received a mention on the SERI list.
2010 figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-na (far left) partnered with Park Jung-hyun (second from left), one of the breakout stars of I am a Singer, to sing a duet as a promotional track for Pyeonchang's bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics (Photo: Samsung Electronics). Comedian Kim Kyung-kyu (far right), came up with The Recipe for Kkokkomyeon, instant ramen noodles flavored with chicken broth (Photo: Korean Yakult Co.).
The free smartphone text messaging application Kakao Talk, which ranked number three on SERI's consumer favorites list, began connecting users in March 2010, and by November of the same year, counted 30 million users. "Jumbo-size" and "half-price" designations produced by retailers and marketed as lower cost alternatives to existing name brands, also received a mention on the SERI list.
Kkokkomyeon, which offered an innovative twist on the ubiquitous spicy Korean ramen, was the only food item that earned the recognition of being a top issue in 2011. Introduced by comedian Lee Kyung-kyu, Kkokkomyeon produces a whitish soup when cooked, as it is flavored with chicken broth instead of the traditional pepper powder. The growing popularity of K-pop overseas, as well as the successful bid by Pyeongchang to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, also numbered among the noteworthy happenings of the year.
By Kwon Jungyun
Korea.net Staff Writer
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