CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Chinese Fans Illegally Stream Korean TV Shows After Ban

Behind The Scene Of South Korean TV Drama

(Photo : Getty Images) Kim So-yeon, center, and Jang In-seob, at left, act on the set of a South Korean TV drama 'Gahwamansasung' or Bong's Happy Restaurant by MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corp.) on April 25, 2016 in Incheon, South Korea.

Chinese viewers are reportedly turning to illegal sites that stream pirated Korean shows, after Korean TV dramas were banned in China, according to Korea Herald.

However, several Korean fans said that even with the ban, it does not feel any more difficult to access Korean content. In fact, exchange students from China said that when they visited the country last month, none of the free streaming sites they frequently visited were shut down.

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The weight of the problem has taken toll on Korean production companies as China used to be the second-largest importer of Korean broadcast content next to Japan. In fact, it accounts for about 26 percent of the total broadcast content exports in 2015.

Korean production companies are trying to shift its target to other markets, but China's market share is too big.

"It's much less profitable to sell [shows] to Southeast Asia and South America. The prices are lower," a director of a major media production company who asked not to be named, said. "It's hard to reach out to the US and Europe because of differences in cultural sensibility."

Remaking Korean content could also offer potential growth, Park Hyun, CEO of DramaFever, a streaming service provider for Korean TV dramas in the US.

"It may not be the right moment to air all-Korean content on mainstream channels in the US. But in the long run, if the remakes are successful, they could be syndicated."

Last month, China's media and online regulatory body issued orders prohibiting recent Korean contents in the country. Streaming sites such as Youku and Tencent have officially deleted its Korean selections from 2017, leaving only content from last year and earlier.

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