So now you know where to legally stream anime (at least in the U.S.) and considering our post on Hallyu was our most popular post last year, what about watching Korean dramas with English subtitles? For example, Princess Hours (Goong), one of the most popular Korean dramas, can be streamed legally from two different websites, Crunchyroll and Dramafever.
Like anime, legal streaming content from Korea is part of an interesting new economic model, allowing for media from one cultural locus to be legally spread outward near simultaneously from the source to locations where it is both diasporic and part of a subculture.
And the economic impact of Hallyu (korean wave) is significant enough that the South Korean government is promoting the export of Korean pop culture:
the Korean drama “Winter Sonata” in 2002 started the Korean wave [was] so popular in Asia that the economic benefits generated by the leading actor Bae Yong Joon alone, is estimated to account for 0.1 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2005.
Korean dramas, unlike U.S. soaps that last over decades, usually run between 20 and 100 episodes, depending on both the popularity and intended plot of the show.
One of the most interesting aspects of the legal-streaming “market” for Korean dramas is owners, licensors, and fansubbers all working together to make dramas available. While Dramafever was still in beta, Dramabeans, one of the most popular English-language Korean drama websites posted
The subtitles for many series have been provided by the companies themselves, but there’s a chance Dramafever will collaborate with With S2 fansubbers to provide subtitles to other dramas in the future.
And that has held true, as shown before the title sequence for the clip of Boys Over Flowers above (and yes, I see the irony in using an albeit, official YouTube clip), fansubbers *are* supplying subtitles. And the website for the fansub community links back to Dramafever.
I don’t forsee such a comfortable relationship between anime fansubbers and owners/licensees any time soon! But this is one great example of fan labor working to serve the interest of fans — and that of content producers — in a mutually beneficial way.
At the time of this blog post, Korean dramas can legally be streamed from:
- Crunchyroll, not only limited to the U.S., free, but additional content with subscription, has newer shows
- DramaFever, available only in the U.S. and Canada, commercial-free with subscription, has mostly older shows
- and just launched KBSWorldi, available worldwide, requires subscription for dramas, has newer shows
PopKissKiss has an excellent comparison chart for the first two options, though some elements have changed.
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