On Monday, December 26, Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) period K-drama Hwarang, also known as Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth and Hwarang Beginning, experienced a sudden surge of popularity. Comparing the viewership ratings from that episode, being the third episode, to the previous episode, being the second episode, the increase in viewership was tantamount. As a matter of fact, the ratings difference from both episodes was that the second episode recorded the lowest ratings for the drama at mostly less than seven percent while the third episode recorded the highest ratings ranging between 11 and 14 percent.
For K-drama fans vested in Hwarang, such an increase in popularity is great news. Unfortunately, there was a situation that may have caused it to be the most popular drama on Monday. The Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) aired their end-of-the-year music special, the 2016 SBS Gayo Daejun. It happened to air at 10 p.m. KST, the time usually allocated for Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim. Ergo, Hwarang did not have to compete with its biggest competitor.
Yesterday, December 27, Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim would return meaning Hwarang would have to compete against the best K-drama currently airing on Korean public television. It is possible that some viewers would stay with Hwarang after checking it out on Monday, but apparently, it was not enough. Hwarang was unable to keep its Monday ratings as it reverted to is previous ratings. As for Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim, it is once again in first place.
According to the viewership ratings provided by both TNmS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea, Hwarang reverted to its previous viewership ratings. The fourth episode recorded 7.4 percent for the nation and 7.8 percent for Seoul National Capital Area for the former and 7.5 percent for the nation and 7.2 percent for Seoul National Capital Area for the latter. It placed in the high teens overall.
On the other hand, Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim placed first overall in viewership ratings for its latest episode, the 15th episode titled “The Cornered Stone Syndrome.” TNmS Media Korea recorded 20.6 percent for the nation and 24.9 percent for Seoul National Capital Area. AGB Nielsen Korea recorded 23.7 percent for the nation and 25.6 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area. To put things into perspective, a quarter of South Korea’s population tuned in to watch the popular medical K-drama.
Take note that Hwarang is not a bad K-drama at all. It is actually fun to watch and has a light-hearted sense of comedy similar to Moonlight Drawn by Clouds. KBS even tried to utilize different angles to really entice the viewers. Probably one of the biggest surprises was the special appearance of Lee Kwang Soo. “Giraffe” or “The Prince of Asia” known for his antics on Running Man played one of the Mangmangchon People in episodes one to three. Given the hype surrounding all the K-pop idols starring in the drama, Kwang Soo’s appearance went under most people’s radar until he actually appeared.
Another angle KBS went was to utilize soccer into Hwarang. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world today as it is loved by millions of people. Kind of like how American football can pull at the heartstrings of Americans, soccer will do the same for the rest of the world. The Inquirer utilized the Philippines’ rising love of soccer, especially for the Philippine Azkals, to link it to the soccer played inHwarang.
Ultimately, it may now be KBS who has to wait for SBS to finish one of their popular K-dramas, being Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim, if they want their K-drama Hwarang to earn high viewership. The roles were originally switched when KBS period K-drama Moonlight Drawn by Clouds dominated in viewership while Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo struggled compared to it. However, when Moonlight Drawn by Clouds concluded, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo saw its viewership suddenly spike. Hwarang is fortunate through because it just started and Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim has five episodes left.
Hwarang and Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim both air on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10 p.m. KST on KBS and SBS respectively. For those who do not have access to Korean public channels, the former can be viewed on both OnDemandKorea and Viki while the latter can also be viewed on OnDemandKorea, but also on DramaFever.
[Featured Image by Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)]