Amid the overall low drama viewership due to the “trot craze” and platform diversification, SBS dramas surpassed the average household rating of 10 percent in the first half of this year, proving its potential as “drama powerhouse.”
According to the report by Nielsen Korea after analyzing the ratings of three terrestrial broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC), tvN, and JTBC in the first half of 2022 (from 01.01.2020 to 06.30.2020), SBS recorded an average of 11.6 percent viewership, surpassing the 10 percent mark and achieving an unrivaled number one spot. JTBC came in second with 8.2 percent, while tvN, MBC, and KBS followed the list with 5.5 percent, 4.3 percent, 3.7 percent, respectively.
SBS also topped the 2049 viewership, a key barometer of popularity and channel competitiveness, with 4.8 percent. JTBC followed with 3.8 percent and tvN with 3.1 percent. MBC and KBS came in fourth and fifth by recording 1.7 percent and 1.1 percent. In particular, SBS showed its potential by listing five of the seven dramas aired in the first half of the year into the Top 10 and all seven in the Top 15.
SBS’s race will continue un the second half of the year as well. First, Alice, one of the most anticipated dramas in the second half of the year, will premiere in August as a follow-up drama of Backstreet Rookie. Starring Kim Hee Sun and Joo Won, this human SF drama tells the story of a man and a woman who are separated by death, only to be reunited by overcoming the limits of time and space. In addition, Fly From Rags To Riches, starring Kwon Sang Woo and Bae Sung Woo, and Penthouse, in which PD Joo Dong Min and writer Kim Soon Ok have joined hands once again since The Last Empress, are set to air in the second half of the year.
MBC, on the other hand, has lost its title, “Drama Kingdom.” The last mini-series that has exceeded 15 percent viewership was She Was Pretty, which aired in 2015. As time went by, single-digit ratings became the norm, and even the dramas that recorded 0 percent viewership have frequently appeared.
MBC’s slump is even more noticeable since each major broadcaster has produced at least one hit drama that has dominated the viewership and popularity: KBS’s When the Camellia Blooms, JTBC’s Itaewon Class and The World of the Married, SBS’s Hot Stove League and Dr. Romantic 2, and tvN’s Crash Landing on You.
Efforts to revive the MBC drama are currently underway. Although the viewership did not hit the jackpot in the first half of 2020, it achieved notable results in terms of diversity. It is said that they have expanded the range of viewers’ choices by making new attempts such as producing a script that won the contest, 4 or 8 part mystery drama, and running virtual SNS channels related to the dramas. In August, SF8, SF Anthology series, which was first introduced at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, will air.