K-Pop Generation spotlighted ‘Dukjil.’ Empathy UP!

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As K-pop has become a popular factor in OTT (online video service), the number of content featuring K-pop’s unique fandom culture or stars off-stage is increasing. Teabing’ K-Pop Generation’ and Watcha ‘Fill in the blank’ are intended to focus on the overall K-pop culture and gain sympathy and bond from the fandom.

The documentary series’ K-Pop Generation’, released on the 26th of last month, shed light on the colorful fandom culture through the first episode, ‘Deokjil.’ Fans gathered in front of the music store, exchanged album photo cards with each other, rented an entire cafe on their favorite member’s birthday, and decorated it as a ‘birthday cafe,’ capturing a scene familiar to fans but unfamiliar to general viewers.

The production team paid attention to the recent change in the fandom, which has risen to the core of K-pop, acting as an agent of attracting new fans beyond the level of just sincerely liking music. Through interviews with idol stars such as Minho of SHINee, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, ENHYPEN, and Ive, Sung-soo Lee, co-CEO of SM Entertainment, and experts such as Tama Herman, an American columnist specializing in K-pop, we analyzed the changes in the fandom from various perspectives. Thanks to this, the documentary gained support from multiple group fandoms and became a hot topic on social media.

‘Fill in the blanks below’ is a documentary featuring 4th generation idols such as Oh My Girl’s Hyojung, The Boyz’s Q, ATEEZ’s Wooyoung, and Le Seraphim’s Kim Chaewon as the main characters. Through various methods, such as interviewing people around them or capturing their inner feelings with self-cameras, each performer unraveled their daily and honest selves rather than on stage. Fans praised it, saying, “It is a new look of a star that has not been seen before,” and OTT has increased the number of subscribers in Japan by nearly four times thanks to the popularity of the content.

There is also an analysis that they have drawn sympathy from a wide range of viewers by capturing a cross-section of ‘digging momentum,’ which is emerging as a recent consumption trend. ‘Trend Korea 2023’, written by Professor Nando Kim of Seoul National University, explained ‘digging momentum’ as “the consumption behavior of the MZ generation who spares no money and time to dig deeper into a field that suits their taste than others.”

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