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[TV Program] Cable Networks Step Up Production Efforts

2010/02/12 Source

"The Rollercoaster", Korean mystery detective "Jeong Yak-yong" Become Smash Hits on Cable NetworksViewers' Perception of Cable Networks Is Also Changing

Cable networks are stepping up their efforts to produce their own programs. Previously, cable networks simply served as an outlet for reruns of programs produced by major broadcasting networks.

Recently, however, they have begun launching their own productions including dramas, entertainment and educational programs and other shows which have proven quite successful. Last year, some cable channel programs such as "The Rollercoaster" (tvN) and Superstar K (Mnet) gained explosive popularity and even changed the way people think about cable networks.

In an effort to meet the viewers' changing expectations, cable channels are rushing to roll out new programs. Celebrities who previously appeared only on major TV networks or in movies are now showing up on cable channels as well, confirming the changing status of cable networks.

"The Rollercoaster", produced by the cable network tvN, became such a huge success that the network is planning to increase its drama production. tvN's "Mrs. Town", Her Husband Died, dubbed the Korean version of Desperate Housewives, garnered rave reviews from audiences for its well-organized plot and extremely hilarious and entertaining episodes.

This year, it will go one step further and cast Hallyu stars in the hope of exporting its productions to other countries. "The Rollercoaster", having previously focused on making insightful comparisons of gender-specific behavioral patterns between men and women, has diversified the elements of fun and entertainment by shifting its focus to the workplace and by comparatively analyzing the different behavioral patterns of men vs. women in office settings.

More celebrities including Cho Hyoung-ki and MBLAQ are making cameo appearances in the program.

In OCN's Korean mystery detective "Jeong Yak-yong", Jeong, a respected scholar of the Joseon dynasty, investigates crimes, rather like a detective, instead of conducting his research.

The TV broadcasting and video rights of the series were sold to Japan before the season ended, and it is scheduled to be aired in Japan next month. "Since drama offers us the best possibility to generate profits via the development of in-house contents, it is highly likely we will continue increasing our investment in this area", said an OCN spokesperson.

Relatively low-budget programs such as reality and talk shows are continuing to evolve in terms of subject matters and formats as well as expanding in number.

MBC's every1 is launching five new entertainment shows this month including the variety show Bling Bling Every Show, Hakuna Matata, Life Theater, We Need a Family, and The Youth Confession. SBSE!TV, which specializes in entertainment, is preparing to launch "Cheolpeodeok House" of Lee Kyung-shil and Jung Sun-hee, a talk show with a new format, in addition to producing hit programs such as Marriage Is a Crazy Thing to Do and Cult2 Show.

Building upon the success of The Era of Ulzzang (Best Face), which stars ordinary members of the public instead of celebrities, Comedy TV will launch Star Real Documentary (working title) featuring entertainers. The recent increase in in-house production by cable networks is attributed to the greater leeway that cable networks have in their attempts to try different things, compared to major over-the-air broadcasting networks, as well as external factors such as improved accessibility to cable networks and increased advertisement revenues.

"Major over-the-air broadcasting networks enjoy relatively high ratings but viewers are not so loyal, whereas cable channels' ratings are relatively low but the viewers are loyal and the channels tend to appeal effectively to the target viewer groups. With the widespread use of the Internet, cable channels are gaining more and more ground", said culture critic Kim Heon-sik.

He went on to say that "cable channels can benefit from their greater leeway and flexibility to streamline their productions and adapt to the viewers' needs in a timelier manner. As such, their experimental attempts have a greater chance of creating positive results.

For example, "Rude Miss Young-Ae", a season-based drama format, would be highly likely to fail if aired on one of the major broadcasting channels, but it remains viable on a cable channel for the reasons I explained earlier".

Source: KyungHyang Daily

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