The Korea Herald


Broadcasters experiment with drama release dates, schedules

By Lee Si-jin

Published : July 9, 2023 - 15:24

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"The Killing Vote" (SBS)

Responding to the fast-changing environment of the content industry, South Korean broadcasters are changing up drama release schedules.

Terrestrial broadcasters SBS and MBC recently announced that they will showcase their upcoming drama projects with a different strategy, parting ways with the traditional schedule in which new episodes are released back-to-back over two consecutive days per week.

While many TV channels air new episodes on either Mondays and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays or Saturdays and Sundays, SBS has decided to release one episode per week on Thursdays for its new 12-part suspense thriller “The Killing Vote."

However, the first two episodes of the new series will be aired back-to-back on Aug 10 -- a pattern similar to that of streaming platforms such as Tving and Disney+.

Launching a one-episode-per week drama schedule is not new to SBS, as the broadcaster showcased “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” as a Friday drama in 2021.

SBS explained that the decision to make "The Killing Vote" a Thursday drama is to bring powerful stories and to focus on creating high-quality content.

Adapted from Kakao Entertainment’s popular webtoon of the same title, “The Killing Vote” presents a society where notorious criminals are sentenced to death by a public vote. While the death penalty exists in Korea, the country has not carried out any executions since Dec. 30, 1997.

Meanwhile, local broadcaster MBC announced that its upcoming period romance drama “My Dearest” will be released in two different parts for the first time in the broadcaster’s history.

"My Dearest" (MBC)

“My Dearest,” starring a go-to actor Namkoong Min who was behind multiple hit series “Good Manager” (2017), “Hot Stove League” (2019) and “One Dollar Lawyer” (2022), is scheduled to present the first 10 episodes starting Aug. 4. The series will air twice a week on Fridays and Saturdays.

After a four to five-week break in September, MBC will release 10 remaining episodes and complete the epic story in October.

“The 20-part ‘My Dearest’ was planned to be split into two parts from the pre-production stage. There were more than 160 Korean drama series created by terrestrial broadcasters, cable channels and both local and global streaming services in 2022. Orchestrating the release timetable has certainly become an important issue,” an MBC official said in a press release on Thursday.

The official added that after taking the latest viewing habits into consideration, it was decided that presenting “My Dearest” in two different parts would offer the best viewing experience.

“Local broadcasters are trying to keep abreast of the current viewing trend, inspired by streaming services. They have been switching their timetables since several years ago. However, it seems like broadcasters are now making more aggressive changes," a broadcasting official who wished to remain anonymous told The Korea Herald.

"JTBC for instance aired new episodes of its 2022 hit series ‘Reborn Rich’ on three days per week -- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Some viewers felt that this decision allowed them to fully immerse themselves in the thrilling story without having to wait too long for the next episode. Broadcasters seem to consider many factors to offer the best viewer experience and garner their attention for the series,” the official added.