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Hallyu fans consume more Korean content amid COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: survey

“Crash Landing on You” tops the list of Hallyu fans’ favorite Korean dramas of 2020, according to a survey conducted by the Culture Ministry last year. (Studio Dragon)
“Crash Landing on You” tops the list of Hallyu fans’ favorite Korean dramas of 2020, according to a survey conducted by the Culture Ministry last year. (Studio Dragon)

The number of foreigners consuming Korean content have continued to rise last year, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

The Culture Ministry said on Thursday it surveyed 8,500 people in 18 different countries including China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Turkey, France and the US. The survey was conducted from Sept. 24 to Nov. 3 last year.

Korean dramas were the most consumed type of content at 29.7 percent, followed by those in the beauty category at 27.5 percent, variety shows at 26.9 percent and fashion-related content at 24.8 percent.

Regarding questions on what type of contents they started consuming more after the pandemic broke out, 48 percent of the respondents picked Korean variety shows, while 47.9 percent and 45.8 percent selected Korean dramas and games, respectively.

Drama watchers picked “Crash Landing On You” as their favorite with 9.5 percent, followed by “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” and “The World of the Married.” Among Korean movies, 18.4 percent of respondents said they enjoyed “Parasite” the most, and 10.2 percent picked “Train to Busan.”

The most popular Korean singers among the respondents were pop sensation BTS which had 22 percent, followed by girl band Blackpink and solo artist Psy.

In the last five years, Hallyu fans had mainly consumed Korean content via online and mobile platforms, the findings showed.

The recent research found out that people who are more exposed to Korean cultural content tend to purchase and experience Korean products and services more. The ministry says this data backs up projects that the new Hallyu department in the Culture Ministry -- which aims to foster growth of other industries in Korea through boosting Hallyu content -- is carrying out.

However, the respondents also noted that language barriers sometime hinder them from enjoying Korean content.

They ranked poor translation and the difficulty of the Korean language as top factors that get in the way of a smooth, enjoyable experience amongst other reasons, such as the plot, social and political background and cost.

The Culture Ministry has pledged to inject 4 billion won in content translation-related projects to tackle this issue, up from the 2.9 billion won last year. It also added that it will establish more branches of the King Sejong Institute Foundation, where foreigners can learn Korean, from 213 last year to 235 in 2021.

More details about the research can be found on the Culture Ministry’s website www.mcst.go.kr.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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