Some may argue that hallyu, or Korean wave, has lost its steam after the success of rapper Psy and Gangnam Style sensation. However, that proves not to be true in North America. Dramabeans (www.dramabeans.com) - a website that introduces and reviews South Korean TV dramas series in English - is all the rage in the region, alluring an average of 1.3 million visitors every month and an average of 15 million every year.
Recently, Joseph Chang, 42, and James Sun, 39, co-representatives and editors of Dramabeans, sat down with the Maeil Business Newspaper for an interview and shared their thoughts on the growing popularity of Korean contents.
Both said they were very much surprised about the fact that the world’s attention on hallyu is only growing.
Dramabeans was founded in 2007 by Chang and Sun both a big fan of Korean TV drama. Chang, a fan of Korean actress Kim Hee-sun, and Sun launched a blog first and wrote about Korean emotions and history in English to help foreigners understand Korean TV shows. At first, the blog was managed as a simple hobby. What they both did was upload selected screen captures from a Korean drama and provide explanations with cultural notions.
“I didn’t expect people from other countries could fall in love with Korean dramas in just few years period,” Chang said. “Even now, I am just amazed.”
With growing popularity and the increasing number of website visitors, Dramabeans is raising stable profits by creating sales through various banner advertisements. Nordstrom, a luxury department store in the Unites States, and Nissan Motor Corporation are major advertisers, according to Dramabeans.
“I think (Nordstrom and Nissan Motor) judged that Korean drama fans in the United States and Japan should be in the middle- and high-income classes who could become their own potential customers,” Sun said.
Chang also said their own analysis of the profiles of Facebook users in the United States and those in Southeast Asian countries who speak English found out that about 4.3 million users claim they are fans of both K-pop and K-drama in their list of interest page.
Chang said 75 percent of total Dramabeans visitors live in North America including the U.S. and Canada, and 90 percent of them are Americans and Canadians who are not Asian Americans like Americans of Korean ethnic.
This year Dramabeans has plans to provide independently-sourced contents and diversify its profit model. In the first half of this year, the website is expected to add K-content videos with an aim to maximize its advertisement profits by uploading video recaps of edited Korean dramas. The website also plans to operate an e-commerce site that would sell popular items that characters use in dramas.
By Min Seok-gi
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]