With the advent of online OTT video services, new methods of broadcasting drama have also emerged.
According to broadcasters on November 19, each broadcasting company is trying to adapt to new content formats such as short and medium forms, or new viewing behaviors such as “binge-watching”.
In the past, dramas that released 2 episodes per week were split into different timeslots such as Monday-Tuesday, Wednesday-Thursday, and weekends. However, nowadays more and more series are organized with one or three broadcasts per week.
JTBC recently announced plans to air its new drama “Reborn Rich” starring Song Joong Ki three times a week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Previously, JTBC always hosted weekend dramas with only 2 broadcasts on Saturdays and Sundays.
This time, JTBC decided to air three episodes simultaneously because they felt that this method of showing more shows, which has recently become a trend, is appropriate for a drama that emphasizes immersion and fast-paced plot development.
At the “Reborn Rich” press conference, director Jung Dae Yoon mentioned the unusual format of broadcasting the drama with 3 episodes per week. He said, “To be honest, at first I wondered if it would be too much for drama. But doesn’t OTT release every episode of every drama at once?”adding “I think it fits well with the recent trend among viewers”.
On the contrary, there are cases where episodes are released once a week to increase the completeness of the work and improve the production environment.
tvN’s “Hospital Playlist” used this method in both seasons 1 and 2.
Director Shin Won Ho said: “Given the production environment, airing two consecutive episodes is a bit too much, so only one episode will be released each week”. In fact, viewers also sympathized with the difficult filming conditions of the dramas, with many night shoots to make it in time for airing. Despite the unusual broadcast format, the drama received a positive response.
Some works opted for one airing per week after securing a solid audience. This also reflected a situation where filming was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unlike previous seasons which aired twice a week, the third season of SBS K-drama “Penthouse” only aired 1 episode a week. In addition, the first half of TV Chosun’s drama “Becoming Witch” airs twice a week, while episodes 7 to 12 were released weekly.
The number of episodes per K-drama also changed. In the past, most miniseries consisted of 16 episodes. However, the 12-episode format has now become more popular with K-dramas. Some had as long as 8 episodes, proving that current series are getting shorter and shorter.
Only in 2022, popular series such as SBS’s “Business Proposal”, TVN’s “Little Women” and KBS’s “Bad Prosecutor” adopted a 12-episode format.
Compared to the “traditional” length of 16 episodes, the narrative of the 12-episode dramas was developed in a compressed manner, which led to a better reception due to the lack of fillers and a better sense of pace.
In an end-of-show interview, Kim Sejeong, who starred in “Business Proposition”, said: “The nice thing about a 12-episode series is that unnecessary scenes can be skipped, making episodes intense and development fast.”
Meanwhile, MBC produced 2 of the winning entries from last year’s script competition as a 4-episode miniseries, including “Hunted” (which concluded in August) and “Please Send Me A Fan Letter” (which premiered on November 18). Producer Jeong Sang Hee, who directed Please Send a Fan Letter, said: “I wanted to finish the story in 4 episodes instead of extending it to 16 episodes.”
In addition, an official from the broadcasting station explained: “In the past, writers wrote according to a fixed 16-episode format, but now the production environment has changed and dramatic material is varied, so the length depends on the size of the story.”
He also added “As viewers have become accustomed to OTT dramas and prefer shorter content, it is natural for broadcasters to change their approach. It is expected that there will be more drama with fewer episodes in the future.”