YeonJeong Kim, Head of Global K-pop and K-content Partnerships at Twitter, introduced big data insights with the theme of ‘#BeyondKpop: Globalization of K-Culture from Music to Drama, Webtoon, Movie and beyond’, and Top 20 most Tweeted K-content. Twitter has been at the center of global conversations about K-pop music scenes, and YeonJeong’s new announcement reflects Twitter’s effect on the global spread of various K-content like Korean popular dramas, webtoons, and movies as well as K-pop music.
The results of data aggregation were conducted by Twitter and VAIV company through big data text mining techniques that analyzed global English Tweets from July 2018 to June 2021.
Most-mentioned K-dramas show clear connection to K-pop
For many K-pop fans, K-dramas were the next type of K-content they tried after falling in love with K-pop, and the most popular K-dramas reflect this preference.
The top four most-mentioned K-dramas around the world were ranked as follows: Kingdom at number one, Itaewon Class (based on the original webtoon) at number two, True Beauty at number three, and Vincenzo at number four. True Beauty and Vincenzo both include roles for K-pop stars, with Cha Eun-woo (a member of the male K-pop group ASTRO) appearing in True Beauty, and Ok Taec-yeon (a member of the male K-pop group 2PM) starring in Vincenzo.
Twitter’s analysis of the word cloud for Tweets mentioning Itaewon Class confirmed that many Tweets about Itaewon Class mentioned the OST song “Sweet Night” by V, a member of the male K-pop group BTS. The word cloud also connected Itaewon Class to 11 other dramas during the first half of 2021. This shows that interest in Itaewon Class led fans to other K-dramas, making Itaewon Class a critical influence for K-content and new fans getting more interested.
Most-mentioned webtoons show boosted interest in webtoons with related K-dramas
With K-pop reaching all-time highs, and the popularity of K-dramas surging accordingly, original webtoons are also seeing increased interest, especially for webtoons that have been turned into K-dramas.
Many of the most-mentioned webtoons have been turned into K-dramas. True Beauty, which ranked third in the most-mentioned K-dramas on Twitter, ranked first in the most-mentioned K-webtoons on Twitter. Sweet Home, which was turned into a Netflix original series, ranked second in the most mentioned K-webtoons. Itaewon Class, which ranked fourth, was later turned into a K-drama, while Navillera (sixth) not only was later turned into a K-drama, but also benefited from BTS member V recommending the drama on a fan cafe.
Most-mentioned movies show the impact of Korea’s biggest directors
Just three film directors accounted for 9 of the top 20 K-movies that are most-mentioned on Twitter.
Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho, was the most-mentioned K-movie on Twitter, but Bong’s other movies, Snowpiercer, Okja, Mother, and The Host, all were among the top 20. Directors Park Chan-wook and Yeon Sang-ho also accounted for two K-movies apiece, with Oldboy and Thirst, and Peninsula and Train to Busan, respectively.
Twitter’s analysis of Tweets related to Bong Joon-ho showed keywords related to Parasite (which won four Academy Awards in 2020), Mother, and Snowpiercer respectively, as well as works by other prominent directors Park Chan-wook and Lee Chang-dong. Twitter’s analysis shows that interest in Bong Joon-ho helped to drive interest in K-movies broadly.
K-content will continue to expand
Yeon-jeong Kim, head of Twitter’s Global K-pop and K-content partnerships, said, “Twitter has proven that K-pop – along with many other fandoms – thrive due to the characteristics of Twitter: live, public, and conversational. People are consuming K-content through various channels, but in the end, the conversations are being held on Twitter. K-content has limitless potential as the fandom culture that started with K-pop has taken an interest in other forms of Korean content, which has led to the spread of the culture. Twitter will dedicate itself in the fullest to supporting the globalization of K-content and the fandom it empowers.”
MU:CON 2021 celebrated the 10th anniversary of Asia’s largest global music market event held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the Korea Creative Content Agency, in an effort to help Korean musicians advance in the global market. In addition to Twitter, the MU:CON 2021 conference included speeches from Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, Billboard columnist Jeff Benjamin, and singer-songwriter Jenna Andrews (songwriter for BTS’ ‘Butter’), as well as other famous figures from Korea and the rest of the world.