UPDATE (12/01/16): There was a mistake in the translation of the statement made by EBS about teaming up with OnDemandKorea. EBS first went to OnDemandKorea because they thought their content would be watched among the VOD streaming site’s members, but it is not exclusive to them. Ergo, if DramaFever, Viki, or others were to come forward with a proposition that EBS accepts, their content would be made available with them too.
Ever since the turn of the new century, Korean culture has exploded in popularity internationally thanks to the efforts of Hallyu. Also known as the Korean Wave, Hallyu was an intricately designed plan by South Korea to increase the popularity of said Korean culture outside of their country primarily through entertainment. Korean music (K-pop and K-rap), Korean television (K-dramas and K-variety shows), and K-movies have established fan bases in many foreign countries.
However, there is much more to Hallyu than just Korean entertainment. The Korean culture, like any culture, is diverse and includes cuisine, customs, language, history, and geography (travel). To be fair, K-pop, K-rap, K-dramas, K-variety shows, and K-movies might have a minute underlying purpose of introducing fans to the other parts of Korean culture. K-dramas like both seasons of Let’s Eat, Drinking Solo, and other food-centered series may entice fans to try out Korean cuisine. The emphasis of location such as Jeju Island in Warm and Cozy may influence fans to travel to certain parts of Korea. However, they do not have the same impact mostly experienced through educational means.
That is why the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) is such a blessing. Similar to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States, EBS is Korea’s television station specializing in documentaries and kid’s shows. If translated via subtitles, they become a very powerful tool for English-speakers wanting to know more about Korean culture. For the longest time, EBS was only available through snippets on their official YouTube pages (EBSDocumentary and EBSKids) in the Americas. That is no longer the case, as OnDemandKorea (ODK) has partnered exclusively with EBS to bring over their shows to American audiences.
A representative from OnDemandKorea made it known they have secured the exclusive airing rights for EBS shows on their video-on-demand streaming site. During their negotiations, EBS provided a plan to ODK about what shows will air on the VOD streaming site.
“Effective November 17th of 2016, EBS have officially given the rights to OnDemandKorea to license our television contents.
“A total of 20 programs will be available for streaming on ODK.com starting later this month. We are greatly looking forward to this partnership.”
All the shows provided by EBS are either documentaries or kid’s shows. At the moment, not of the episodes are subtitled. It is believed either EBS or OnDemandKorea are working hard on fixing that issue given the fact the shows are being made available primarily to an English-speaking audience.
EBS documentaries now available for viewing on OnDemandKorea are listed below. Each show is detailed with a synopsis to further understand what each show is all about.
- There Is No Such Thing as a Bad Dog — Are you frustrated by your dog that barks all the time, bites everything she sees, aggressive to other dogs, and even shows symptoms of separation anxiety? Pets do not develop such problematic behaviors overnight. Just like humans, pets shape their behavior patterns per their environment and behaviors of their owners. If your pet starts acting out, it’s time you reflect on your behaviors and the environment you set up for your pet.
- Extreme Job — Though unseen and unrecognized by us, there are people in every corner of our society, who are doing amazing works in unimaginably harsh work environments. The show provides an opportunity to catch a glimpse into their work and what it takes to get those works done. Their professionalism and dedication to their work reflect the driving force of our civilization that has moved humanity forward since ancient times. Viewers will gain a whole new appreciation of works that enable our way of life and will be inspired by the courage, teamwork, and leadership people display in the face of obstacles.
- Mother-in-Law And Daughter-in-Law Story — Considering that even blood-related family members have their difficulties and conflicts, it is natural that in-laws who became family through marriage have hard time understanding one another. On top of that, multicultural families face unique obstacles, such as misunderstanding that arises from the language barrier, cultural difference, and stereotypes and biases rooted in unconsciousness. In this show, Korean mothers-in-law will take a trip with their foreign daughters-in-law to their home countries. The mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will have time to understand each other, accept their differences, and to strengthen their newly tied family bond.
- Today’s Documentary — A documentary program where EBS reconstructs the best documentary series in a fresh new perspective.
- EBSe Everyday English — This program features English conversation classes for beginners. Viewers will build and expand their vocabulary based on most commonly words in English and learn to make sentences using those words. In addition, they will learn various expressions and idioms that are frequently used by native English speakers in their everyday conversations.
- Find Hidden Korea — The same place is perceived, enjoyed, and remembered differently by different people, as each person’s interests, experiences, and reasons for travel are unique. This show does more than introducing hidden travel gems in Korea. It encourages viewers to consider familiar travel destinations in a new light by showing what other people found attractive in those places.
- Our Sole Earth — Our Sole Earth, the longest-running environmental documentary in Korea, examines the relationship between nature and humans in consideration of rapidly deteriorating natural environment and human impact on such changes. The program strives to raise awareness about environment issues and to search for alternative technologies and way of life to improve Earth’s health.
- Best Doctors — This is a highly informative medical documentary where viewers can witness actual consulting and surgeries performed by doctors voted best on patients’ survey. It helps viewers become familiar with medical terms and process and provides them with in-depth knowledge of various diseases and useful tips, such as how to recognize first symptoms and what to do to prevent the onset of diseases.
- In Search of a Father 3000 Miles Away — Now we have more than 850,000 foreign workers in Korea. Half of them are living in Korea all by themselves to provide for their families in their home countries. In this show, children of the foreign workers will come to Korea in search of their fathers. Following their extraordinary journeys, viewers will get to see Korea through their innocent eyes and find the true meaning of family in their reunion.
- Atlas — This program introduces a concept of thematic tourism in which travelers explore their destinations according to their chosen theme, such as culinary expedition, guided tours of historic sites, art and architecture, and sports. The travel is accommodated by each area’s experts’ insightful explanations.
Other EBS documentaries that will also be available to watch on OnDemandKorea include The Best Recipes, Korea Travel, World Theme Travel, EBS Docuprime, EBS Insight, and Why Curiosity Rules!.
In addition to the documentaries, EBS also produces children’s television shows. Right now, OnDemandKorea has three kid’s shows, Farting King Pung Pung, Let’s Get Together Ding Dong Deng, and Ding Dong Deng Kindergarten. At the moment, only Farting King Pung Pung, a kid’s show that features educational contents that incorporate dances and songs to help children’s verbal and physical development, is available at the moment.
For those wondering if OnDemandKorea will lose their exclusive rights to EBS in hopes DramaFever or Viki will eventually get a share of the viewing rights, take note that EBS themselves purposely did not go with them because they felt their content would not mesh well with the core audiences of those sites. ODK does have K-dramas, but they do not specialize in them only. They have a wider variety of Korean content. Ergo, EBS felt ODK was the best option to distribute their shows feeling people would actually watch them on the VOD streaming site.
OnDemandKorea is free to sign up for, but to enjoy content free of ads, the latest shows uploaded within one hour of broadcast in Korea, premium content, HD quality, and access to the mobile app, people will need to subscribe to ODK Plus. The month-to-month subscription is $6.99 USD, but there is a special going on right now for a full year of ODK Plus for $59.99 USD. That is a very good deal to have access to a wide array of Korean content not limited to K-dramas, K-variety shows, and K-movies.
[Featured Image by the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS)]