Korean TV dramas attract less educated Chinese fans

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 6:23pm

Chinese television viewers who watch South Korean TV soap operas earn less and are less educated compared to the fans of TV dramas made in other countries, a study has revealed.

Among all Chinese fans of television dramas, those who liked to watch Korean soaps were found to have lower incomes and lower academic backgrounds compared to those who watched popular American and Japanese television dramas, Donga Daily reported last Friday, citing a research paper.

The paper concluded that because most South Korean soaps had weak, illogical storylines, they tended to attract poorly paid and poorly educated people who preferred undemanding, sentimental plots.

The shows did not require intensive reasoning from viewers to keep track of the plots and allowed them to fulfil their need for sentiment, the study explained.

The research was carried out by Kang Myung-koo, a communications professor at Seoul National University. Kang and his team based their results on feedback from a group of nearly 400 Beijing residents aged between 20 and 50 who were asked to watch television dramas produced in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.

Popular American shows and a portion of Japanese ones were best received by the well-educated, high-income group as the shows employed more complex plots filled with suspense, the professor claimed.

Chinese internet users have long enjoyed television dramas from all over the world for free online because of rampant internet piracy. Fast-paced American dramas and emotional South Korean shows still attract the greatest numbers of viewers on China’s video sites, although the popularity of the later has been in decline in recent years, according to a study by a media consultancy.

A post widely circulated on Chinese social networks that identified a hierarchy of popularity claimed that fans of British dramas looked down on American TV drama lovers who in turn disdained Korean and Japanese soap fans. Further down were the Taiwanese and Hong Kong drama fans while domestic dramas lovers were at the bottom of the heap.