It was found that, despite the COVID-19 crisis last year, Hallyu wave-related exports increased by 9% compared to the previous year.
Exports of games, movies, and entertainment programs have increased significantly as non-face-to-face content consumption has increased. However, there were some problems in the popularity of high-ranking content, the fixation of rankings, and the absence of new stars and content in the rankings.
K-pop: BTS and BLACKPINK lead the game
The Korea International Cultural Exchange Agency published the ‘2021 Global Hallyu Trend Report’ on the 3rd. According to the report, the total export amount related to Hallyu last year was 10.175 billion dollars, an increase of 8.8% from the previous year. Exports of cultural contents products due to the Korean Wave recorded $6.554 billion, an increase of 10.8%, and exports of consumer goods increased by 5.5%. The growth of the music industry has slowed due to the suspension of K-pop offline concerts, but it is explained that the game and video content fields have grown significantly due to the generalization of non-face-to-face content consumption and the spread of global OTT distribution networks.
BTS and BLACKPINK dominated the popularity of Kpop last year . Looking at the ranking of last year’s top K-pop singers voted by overseas Hallyu fans, BTS took first place with 22%, followed by BLACKPINK with 12.5%. The difference between the 1st and 2nd groups, PSY (2.5%) in 3rd place, TWICE (2.4%) in 4th, and EXO (2.1%) in 5th place was more than 10%.
Throughout the report, the Agency expressed their concerns about the ‘popularity bias in the top ranks’. The popularity of BTS and Blackpink itself is encouraging, but the popularity of these groups has not led to interest in K-pop in general. The Promotion Agency said, “Although the rankings were the same in 2019 and last year, the proportions of BTS and BLACKPINK each increased by about 7 percentage points, while the proportions of PSY and TWICE decreased.” As the gap widens every year and the top rankings are fixed, there are concerns about the sustainability of the Hallyu wave,” he pointed out.
“There isn’t any new face in the ranking of actors, games, and animations”
In the list of preferred actors, Lee Min-ho (9.6%) took first place for three consecutive years. After enjoying sensational popularity in Asia with ‘Boys Over Flowers’ and ‘The Heirs’ in the 2010s. It is analyzed that it is maintaining high recognition through ‘The Legend of the Blue Sea’ and ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’. Gong Yoo, Song Hye-kyo, and Lee Jong-suk were included in the top five for the third consecutive year, showing a tendency to fix the ranking.
Concerns have also been raised that there is no new game to lead the ‘Hallyu Game’ after Battleground. Battlegrounds (18.0%) was surveyed as the best Korean game for three years in a row. The Promotion Agency said, “The game industry accounts for 80% of the total exports of Korean cultural contents, and the absence of new popular contents is quite worrisome. Ragnarok, Crossfire, Black Desert, and Summoners War all are the game that has been produced 6 to 19 years ago.”
The Agency pointed out that similar problems are occurring in the animation field. As the best Korean animation character, Pucca (15.0%), who first appeared in 1999, was selected for the third year in a row. The Agency said, “Although it means that Pucca is such high-quality content. Netizens said that other characters that have been released in the same time with Pucca have not been able to build greater recognition abroad.” However, it is noteworthy that Pinkfong, which has entered the rankings since 2019, ranked 4th (9.5%), the Agency introduced.