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KWeb Fest chief: Web-based series to take over from K-pop

  • Published : Jul 27, 2015 - 10:38
  • Updated : Jul 27, 2015 - 10:38

Internet-based dramas have experienced remarkable growth in the local broadcasting market. Such dramas consist of eight to 16 episodes with a length of 10 to 20 minutes each and are available only on the Internet.

It became a new genre of broadcasting as young people prefer watching shows on smartphones in one of the world's most wired countries.

In May, "EXO Next Door," a 16-episode series starring members of one of the hottest K-pop boy bands EXO, ended broadcasting on Naver's video-streaming services in South Korea, setting a record as the most-viewed local Web drama with 50 million views.


With the growth of domestic market, Asia's first-ever festival of Web-based series is set to kick off in Seoul on July 30-31.

"Korean Web series will be the next runner after K-pop," Kang Young-man, executive director of KWeb Fest, said during a recent interview with Yonhap News Agency.

"As K-pop drew worldwide popularity, Web series can possibly play a lead role in hallyu," he said, referring to the global boom of Korean pop culture. "Koreans can make Web series diverse and interesting as they are really talented people. It also is a strong point that they have hardware more advanced than in any other countries in the world."

Kang drew attention in 2000 when he opened "Cupid's Mistake," his own feature film with an ultra-low budget of US$980, in American theaters.

The filmmaker, who works between the United States and South Korea, was acclaimed in several international film festivals, including the annual Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.

He said he was shocked when he found out while attending the Los Angeles Web Series Festival last year that there were no entries from the three major Northeast Asian countries, including South Korea, to one of the world's largest events of the kind.

"LA Webfest founder Michael Ajakwe asked if South Korea makes Web series," Kang said. The question, according to him, led him to create a festival in South Korea so to pave the way for local Web series to advance to overseas markets.

Some 90 Web series made at home and abroad will receive screenings in the KWeb Fest with most of them acclaimed by both critics and viewers.

Kang cited "flexibility" as the biggest attraction of Web series.

"The storytelling, genre, the production process and distribution system are all flexible," he said.

Web-based dramas' distribution system, in particular, is clearly different from that of big-budget films produced by large studios, according to him.

"Films go out of business if they fail to be put on screens, Web series are the opposite as they have different platforms. They can choose the audience by targeting social network services or online communities whose members may have interest in their contents." (Yonhap)