KELCEY LORENZO WRITES – Korean entertainment companies are always looking for the newest and freshest way to market and promote their idol-singers through means other than just the group’s music. Idols can be seen guest starring on variety and radio shows, endorsing products and companies, and modeling in magazine pictorials.

2013 saw the rise of mobile dramas (programs that are only available through premium mobile services), such as B2ST’s Kikwang in “20’s Twenty-Years-Old” and Infinite’s Sungyeol and 4Minute’s Jihyun in “Love Potential.”

It appears that the newest method is web dramas – programs that are available through online video streaming sites. These new web dramas do not star just one or two members of an idol group, but all of them.

JYP Entertainment boy group GOT7 premiered their web drama “Dream Knight” on January 27 through Naver’s TVcast, Chinese video sites Youku and Tudou, and Thailand’s Line TV. Despite the mixed initial reactions prior to the premiere, the first episode received around 3 million views on Youku and Tudou within one day of release. The drama is also proving to be quite popular among fans both domestically and internationally.

Surprisingly, however, Chinese-Korean boy group EXO of SM Entertainment’s web drama (called “EXO Next Door”) has been received with a not-so-warm welcome.  Fan reactions have proved to be overwhelmingly negative. Just the name alone has fans calling it “Cringe worthy” and leaving comments like, “So it’s safe to say that I shouldn’t have any expectations for it, right…?”

With the polar opposite reactions to GOT7 and EXO’s web dramas, it appears that online dramas really are a hit or miss.