CJ E&M Brings Korean Dramas to the World

Diane Min, senior sales manager at CJ E&M, speaks to TV Drama Weekly about some of the company’s Korean dramas, which have been increasing in popularity around the globe.

About 25 percent of CJ E&M’s annual catalogue is devoted to drama. Each year, the South Korean entertainment conglomerate churns out around 20 dramas, totaling approximately 350 hours of content.

“Family relations and romantic comedy are still the prevailing trends in drama programming,” says Diane Min, the company’s senior sales manager. “CJ has ***Image***really changed the environment by introducing new genres, including crime investigation and thriller series.”

Among CJ E&M’s most successful scripted titles are Let’s Eat and Misaeng—Incomplete Life. The former centers on a divorced woman and a single man who discover that they share a passion for food, while the latter follows an insecure young man interning at a general trading company, where he meets a mentor who changes his life.

According to Min, CJ E&M’s dramas have been selling best in such Asian territories as China and Japan. “We have seen sales rising in the greater Asian region,” she says. In other parts of the continent, the company recently signed two separate volume deals from its drama slate: one with StarHub in Singapore and another with Media Prima’s 8TV in Malaysia. Each snapped up more than 200 hours of content produced by CJ E&M in 2014, as well as this year’s full lineup.

CJ E&M is also enjoying an expanded presence on a number of online services—including Hulu, DramaFever and Viki—and in the Western market. ***Image***“Driven by this momentum, we hope to explore opportunities in new markets in Europe and the Middle East,” adds Min.

Moving forward, CJ E&M will continue to provide the international television market with high-quality Korean dramas that are “strong, relevant and fresh,” says Min. Upcoming scripted titles for the company include Cheese in the Trap, an adaptation of a webtoon about a college student dating a mysterious upperclassman. “The general plot [follows] everyday stories of young adults struggling to make it in the world, in love as well as in their careers, [and is] told in an engaging way,” says Min. There is also Reply 1988, a family drama set nearly three decades ago. “The much-beloved Reply series is back with a completely new cast and a new time period,” adds Min. “This time, the story will focus on the topic of family and neighbors instead of first loves and relationships.” Both titles are expected to debut later this year.

Min says that now more than ever, audiences are looking for fresh, new content; she believes CJ E&M’s “trendy and edgy dramas” can deliver on this.