Americans are turning off racist networkTV?
It used to be that the TV series Americans were able to consume were all pretty much produced right here in the US. Acclaimed shows from other shores — even countries that spoke English — rarely showed up in America, and if they did, it was only sporadically on PBS. But in the last several years, that’s been changing. More and more British, Canadian, and Australian series arrive here every day, and sites like Hulu bring in shows that aren’t in English (like Hatufim, the Israeli show that served as inspiration for Homeland).
And then there’s DramaFever, an online video streaming service specializing in TV series and films from Asia. DramaFever has become one of the leading distributors of international content in the United States since its 2009 launch.
DF says its total monthly unique viewers — which includes syndication partners like Hulu and YouTube — quadrupled from 2012 to 2013, growing from 2.5 million to 10 million. And it just keeps growing, currently sitting at 20 million.
Big brands have noted this rapid growth, as Ad Week reports. Toyota, AT&T, Verizon, and Samsung have all purchased ads on DramaFever. The site’s content is available in more places than ever and has expanded beyond Asian programming: it’s signed deals with Hulu, AMC, and YouTube, and in December 2012, it began streaming programming from Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo.
When DramaFever launched with just four employees, co-founders Suk Park and Seung Bak weren’t expecting things to take off quite like they did. “When we started five years ago, we thought our audience was going to be Korean-American,” Park told me over the phone. “But we couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Non-Asians really, really love Korean dramas
Indeed, 85 percent of DramaFever’s audience, Park said, is non-Asian, with 45 percent being Caucasian and 25 percent being Latino. “All types of ethnicities,” Park told me, “are seeking out foreign content” because it “speaks to them more than … traditional television.”