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Distributing TV dramas in the digital environment: a Korean case

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While 'windowing' as a vehicle for intertemporal price discrimination has been the traditional distribution strategy for TV programs, new digital technologies are calling for new distribution methods. In this study, we examine the changing distribution patterns for TV dramas in Korea. Analysis of primetime dramas that were aired on terrestrial broadcasting networks (KBS, MBC, SBS) in Korea during 2004-2006 shows that the temporally linear sequence of windowing is being replaced by a strategy of (near) simultaneous distribution across all available channels. However, focusing on cable channels and Internet video-on-demand, this study finds that the influence of a program's performance during its first run on a broadcast network on its performance in other channels is as strong as ever in this simultaneous diffusion pattern of distribution. We also find that programs with lower audience homogeneity do better in any medium. The qualities of popular TV programs as we have known them do not seem to have changed drastically. However, it seems that audiences have fragmented into cable or video-on-demand (VOD) subgroups with viewers choosing a medium based on its accessibility or their familiarity with it.

Keywords: Internet video-on-demand; Korean TV market; TV program distribution; cable television; terrestrial TV; windowing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Communication, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea 2: Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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