SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — As the pet population in South Korea soars past the 10 million mark, TV networks are increasingly cashing in on pet-themed shows to attract the growing number of viewers who own companion animals.
With more than 10 million South Koreans now owning a pet, more than the population of Seoul, an increasing number of national and cable TV networks including SBS, MBC and EBS, are introducing or revamping pet-themed programs in a bid to attract what is now one of the largest viewing demographics in the country.
Leading the trend is major national TV network SBS’s long-running show ‘TV Animal Farm’, which has been airing for more than 16 years, while others include educational channel EBS’s ‘There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Dog’, a program that centers around dog owners who struggle to train their dogs.
‘Haha Land’, which began airing in August, is a new pet-themed TV show on MBC that the network developed to appeal to pet owners.
Since it first aired in 2001, ‘TV Animal Farm’ has contributed to establishing the concept of ‘companion animals’ in the country, a term that began catching on around 10 years ago that implies it takes responsibility to own a pet and that they aren’t just toys.
“The most important role of the show is not to depict how cute animals are, but to capture the moments when communication occurs between humans and animals as well as between animals,” said Lee Gyeong-hong, the producer of the program.
Lee Mi-yeong, who produces MBC’s ‘Haha Land’, another animal-themed show with a similar format, hopes to differentiate the new show with ‘TV Animal Farm’.
“Though it might look similar to ‘TV Animal Farm’, we offer an interesting perspective and features including issues around adoption, the running of 24-hour animal hospitals, and comedian Noh Hong-chul’s life with his companion donkey,” Lee said.
In response to growing pet ownership and the success of pet-themed TV shows, DOGTV, a channel dedicated pet animals, was launched in South Korea in 2013, and is often plugged using the main selling point that leaving the channel on for pets can ease their mind and help release stress.
When asked about the increasing number of TV programs with an animal theme, Lee, who produces SBS’s ‘TV Animal Farm’, said, “I’m following the trend closely with interest.”
Lee also argued depicting different types of animals from fresh angles should be pursued.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)