Organized Panel Session
This paper examines the emerging online distribution system of South Korean television drama in East Asia, which transcends the traditional mode of distributing programs via direct sales over national market, and thus introduces a new dimension for understanding the formation of region-based media infrastructure. The previous studies on the transnational impact of Korean popular culture, often represented by the brand of Korean Wave, tended to focus on either production or consumption side of the phenomenon, such as the hybridized nature of its products through negotiation between the national and the global (Shim 2006; Ryoo 2009) or overseas fandom culture that appropriates it in localized forms (Mori 2008; Huang 2011).
I argue that the rapid advancement of online distribution system, supported by digital technology and mobile platforms, necessitates a different perspective for understanding how the production and consumption of Korean television dramas are being interconnected in the broader geopolitical context, regional or global. I will look into two streaming services in Japan for case study, Netflix (video-on-demand) and AbemaTV (web television), concerning their distribution and marketing strategy, as represented in the form of programming. Mr. Sunshine (Hwa and Dam Pictures, 2018), a recent release in South Korea, simultaneously available through Netflix in Japan, provides a good example to demonstrate an infrastructural change that not only transforms the way foreign television program is consumed in Japan but also suggests how a national product can operate upon a shared regional identity, or ‘East Asian sensibilities’ in Younghan Cho’s term (2011).