Today we are happy to publish a special interview with Hwang Jin-Woo, President & Executive Producer of Something Special - one of the most important Korean company specialized in creating new original contents for the International Market of Formats.
What are the hig format in your country?
Format trends in Korea during 2nd half of 2022 and 1st half of 2023, can be stated as 3 things.
One is the Dating show format. Throughout the entire year, ‘22 was definitely the year of dating formats. It has been reported that almost 40 new dating shows have been created, including 17 from linear TV and 23 from digital/streaming platforms. Dating show elements have been varied, enabling traditional networks and production companies to catch more authenticity in the relationship as well as discover non-celebrity characters.
Another is the celebrity-driven reality entertainment format. This format has been a typical type for local hits for a while in Korea and still positioned as one of the major popular formats in the unscripted scenes for linear networks in Korea. Whether it is a travelogue or lifestyle observations, watching celebrity characters are still trending.
The other is the competition reality format. Rather than linear TV, competition reality formats have become hugely appropriate shows for viewers on streaming platforms. Social experiments, set up in a high-stake environment, performances and even a race for bigger cash prizes – the new ideas kept on coming with YouTubers or Instagram influencers participating, and yes, this is the one popular format genre that we are expecting to become even bigger next year.
What’s the trend in unscripted?
As we have seen from successful Korean formats such as Masked Singer or I Can See You Voice, Korean formats have become well-known for their twists and combining genres. With more shows being developed for streaming platforms, new formats will appear next year.
Again, there seem to be more competition formats coming soon. However, what we discovered is that ‘audition type singing competition’ are less trending at the moment. However, as we have seen from the vast demands of dating shows (which were completely un-trending just a few years ago), this can also change.
What are the future projects?
For Something Special, we always work with the best creative talents to bring fresh new hits to the world. Our KOCCA-funded ‘22 Format Lab Project has just finished and we are finalizing our materials. New upcoming format includes Answer My Hits (music competition), Touch of Grey (make-over reality), Outlandish (cooking competition), Pitchy Perfect (music game show), Not My Day (competition reality), Under No Circumstances (role-playing game show, Bring Me Dat (reality game show), Go Left (dating search).
Did you close any international deals with your formats?
Our current format catalogue includes 26 new shows that we have originally created and 15 shows that we are representing from independent studios. And many shows will be launched or produced in 2023 for Europe and U.S. audiences. Titles include Battle in the Box, Still Alive, Music Box, Quizzy Horror Show, and Survival Hunt. We look forward to officially announcing their commissions very soon. Additionally there are also 2 international formats that we have brought in for Korean adaptation. In every way, 2023 will be our highly anticipated year. Stay tuned for more!