As evidenced by the numerous K-dramas in the past few years, it would seem that producers have done away with the 16-episode formula. There are numerous dramas that now have shorter runs including jTBC’s The Light in Your Eyes with 12 episodes, MBC’s 365: Repeat the Year with 12 episodes, and OCN’s Strangers From Hell with 10 episodes. In the streaming platforms, Netflix’s The Kingdom has been noted to be a kind of limited series and the medium has taken over K-drama as a whole.
Many say that this formula is successful as viewers responded well to the speedy developments of stories and it seems that more people are interested in such formats. It would seem that this is the future of K-dramas now.
Upcoming dramas this month are mostly composed of 12 episodes including Among the new works that are about to air in May, there are many works composed of 12 episodes. These include MBC’s Kkondae Intern, jTBC’s Ssangappocha, and OCN’s Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation. This choice is often attributed to the rising popularity of over-the-top (OTT) programs and online streaming platforms which caused viewers to prefer shows with shorter runs.
Pop culture critic Kim Heon-shik said, “Unlike in the past, these days if you have an overseas drama or a webtoon, you should consider the first part of how many films should be composed. In the past, because it was tied to the form, many useless characters entered and failed to show off. There are many attempts to put in the core of the original work, taking into account the changed viewing flow, and the narrative structure rather than the classic method of winning the battle is also changing to the way of winning in the early stages.”
In every situation where dramas are produced in every station, the word “reducing the turn” is also an inevitable choice. This is because the risk can be slightly reduced compared to the existing 16- and 20-part trilogy.
Critic Kim Heon-shik said, “Making the drama compact makes it possible to reduce production costs. If the format is tied to the viewer, the production cost goes out to the production cost if the rating or response is not good.”
The reason for insisting on the past 20 and 16 episodes is related to the profit structure. The tendency was to force the application of the format to receive advertisement fees.
Critic Kim Heon-sik said, “There are many ways to sell copyrights abroad, supply content to the OTT platform, or make money. We are adopting this strategy because we do not rely on TV advertisements excessively.”
The rapidly changing drama production environment is also directly or indirectly affected. This is because the production environment has changed since the planning stage due to the changed drama production environment following the 52-hour workweek implementation.
What do you think about this change? Will you miss the traditional long runs? Or are you open to change?