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Korean dramas enjoy huge wave of popularity in US

South Korean dramas have become another driving force of the "hallyu" craze, or the Asia-wide boom of Korean culture, along with K-pop in the United States, a Seoul-based cultural agency said Friday.

According to a recent report released by the Korea Creative Content Agency's (KOCCA) U.S. office, Korean TV series, particularly romantic comedies, are riding a huge wave of popularity among women in their teens to early 30s in America.

The report is based on an online survey conducted by the KOCCA on 4,753 Korean drama fans in the U.S., which is double the number of respondents in the last survey conducted in 2014.

The results were broken down by age, ethnicity and gender.

Young internet users dominated the survey - 38.5 percent were ages 16 to 20, 21.9 percent were 20 to 25, 13.1 percent were 26 to 30 and 7.7 percent were in their early 30s, making up 73.5 percent of the total respondents.

Asian viewers led the pack with 25.5 percent, trailed by 25.1 percent Hispanics, 24 percent white and 9 percent African-American. Compared to the previous survey, white fans have significantly increased, climbing to third place.

Most Korean drama fans, 95.1 percent of them, used online streaming services to watch subtitled series. DramaFever turned out to be the most popular platform with 63.9 percent, followed by Viki with 19.1 percent and Netflix and YouTube each recording 2.8 percent.

More than half of the respondents -- 59.8 percent -- said they have been watching Korean dramas for more than three years, while 13.7 percent said it had only been two to three years and 13.65 percent one to two years. The study reflects Korean dramas' ongoing popularity, racking up 87.1 percent of avid fans who have been watching for more than a year.

When it came to genre, romantic comedies were by far the most preferred recording a whopping 72 percent. Melodrama lovers came in second with 11.7 percent, trailed by historical dramas recording 9.9 percent and crime or action with 9.2 percent.

The most enjoyed dramas reflected the participants' taste. The top five dramas among U.S. viewers were romantic comedies, with "Descendants of the Sun," at the top, followed by "Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo," "Cinderella and Four Knights" and "Oh My Venus."

Meanwhile, the most famous actors were, in order, Lee Min-ho, Lee Joon-gi, Lee Jong-suk, Song Joong-ki and Ji Chang-wook. Among actresses, Park Shin-hye received the most votes, with Kong Hyo-jin ranked second and IU, Song Hye-gyo and Hwang Jung-eum rounding out the top five.

"The greatest attraction of Korean dramas is in the creative, well-structured story plot," said Kim Cheol-min, head of KOCCA's U.S. office. "The results prove that K-dramas are expanding internationally, encompassing all ethnic groups."

The agency plans to distribute the collected data to media, academia and other related associations in order to establish policies and marketing strategies. (Yonhap)