Korean dramas are getting shorter and shorter… What is the reason for the trend of reducing the number of episodes?

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The rampant fascination with 12-episode dramas has firmly entered the television industry. In addition to OTT (online TV via the Internet), so-called mini-series are successfully broadcast on central and cable channels.

In the past, mini-series in the United States and Japan usually consisted of 10-12 episodes, but in Korea the standard of 16 episodes was impeccably followed. It all started in the 1990s, at a time of dire need, when broadcasters depended on television advertising in the structure of their income. However, with the changing conditions of doram production and profit structure, the programming strategy has changed. The transition to the new format was also influenced by the fact that the production of a 16-episode drama takes from six months to one year due to the 52-hour work week system. Mini-series, consisting of 8-12 series, significantly speed up the workflow and reduce production costs, thanks to which in recent years on the small screen appeared a large number of projects with a small number of episodes, which, however, did not affect their quality and popularity among viewers .

Internet television was the starting point for the distribution of dora, which was shorter than the standard 16-episode series. Platforms such as Netflix, Watcha, Disney + and Apple TV, in addition to providing access to existing content, have begun to actively invest in the creation of their own television projects. Especially in the Korean segment. «Cute house»,«Kingdom“,” Optional “from Netflix,” Damn good company “,”Logical error“By Watcha,”Work later, drink now»By TVing and«Network»From Disney + were created and provided to viewers in a new format, where the number of episodes does not exceed 5-12 series. All these works were well received for their full composition and exciting plot component.

As Internet TV services spread, Korean viewers became acquainted with a variety of content and gradually became accustomed to short-term dramas. Accordingly, Korean TV channels have also adapted to the new trend and are now producing short dramas. Only last year, viewers were shown “Naviller»By tvN,«May youth»From KBS 2TV,«Black sun»From MBC,«Inspector Gu»By JTBC,«Bad and crazy“From tvN, and this year they were presented”Those who read the hearts of evil»By SBS,«Thirty-nine»By JTBC and«Business offer»By SBS. Most of them received high marks with a rating above average, and their cinematic quality was especially noted by the audience.

And how do industry insiders feel about the growing popularity of 12-episode dora? Lee Ok KyuExecutive Director of Drama «Business offer“, Shared his opinion:

«Viewers are obviously familiar with the dramas that Internet services offer, so short series are part of the trend these days. Such a transition to the usual format for consumers is a completely natural process. As you know, in the past the writers worked in a fixed format of 16 series, but now the situation has changed, and the subject has become much more diverse, so the volume is determined based on “how to tell and end the story so that it was interesting.” In the future, I’m sure there will be more doras with a small number of episodes».

In addition, as Korean dramas are distributed overseas through online platforms, it has become more important to focus on quality content rather than increasing the pointless number of series. Kim Se AExecutive Director of Drama «Thirty-nine»Also spoke on this topic:

«If you make a 12-episode drama, the problem of filling the screen time will disappear, and you will be able to focus on the narration of the main characters. It seems that in the future there will be dramas with different numbers of episodes. Family dramas that meet our emotions will retain their original duration in 16 episodes, but dramas that focus on genres or narration of the main characters will come out with fewer episodes».

Critic Chon Dok Hyun made his opinion about the growing popularity of short series:

«Quantity is no longer the determining factor. While the position that the drama should consist of 16-20 series no longer makes sense. Yes, TV channels still stick to the 16-episode framework, but they have become more flexible. Under the influence of the content offered by Internet platforms, viewers will get used to short dramas and want more rich works. Definitely more content with short episodes in the future».

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