SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Foreigners’ favorable feelings toward South Korean cultural content marked an overall improvement last year on the strength of the continued popularity of “hallyu,” or the Korean Wave, according to a poll released Saturday by a government agency.
The survey of 8,000 people in 17 countries who experienced Korean cultural content by the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange showed that foreigners’ favorability toward Korean dramas rose to 76 percent in 2019, compared with 73.4 percent for entertainment, 73.3 percent for traditional Korean food, or hansik, and 73.4 percent for movies.
Of them, the favorability of Korean films rose by the largest margin of 2.1 percentage points, the poll found.
Foreigners’ monthly average spending on Korean dramas jumped to US$14, compared with $13.30 for games, $12.10 for movies, $11.20 for publications, $10.80 for entertainment, $9.30 for animation and $9.20 for music.
Their monthly spending on such tangible Korean content as fashion, beauty and food also rose to $31.40, $28.50 and $22.60, respectively, the poll said.
Among Korean drama content, “Hotel Del Luna” was favored by the largest 8.2 percent, trailed by “Descendants of the Sun” (3 percent), “Jewel in the Palace” (2.3 percent), “Kingdom” (2.1 percent), “Goblin: The Lonely and Great God” (2 percent) and “Her Private Life” (2 percent).
In the film category, Oscar-winning “Parasite” overwhelmingly topped the list with 12.4 percent, followed by “Train to Busan” (7.9 percent), “Extreme Job” (3.1 percent), the “Along with the Gods” series (2 percent) and “Exit” (1.5 percent).
“PUBG Mobile” obtained the highest favorability rating of 18.3 percent among Korean computer games, while Pucca was the favorite Korean animation character with a rating of 15.9 percent.
The most favored Korean singer was BTS with a rating of 15.2 percent, followed by BLACKPINK (6.5 percent), Psy (5.7 percent), TWICE (2.8 percent) and BIGBANG (2.5 percent).
Lee Min-ho topped the list of Korean actors and actresses with 7.6 percent, followed by Song Hye-kyo (3.4 percent), Song Joong-ki (1.9 percent), Gong Yoo (1.8 percent), Suzy (1.7 percent) and Lee Jong-suk (1.7 percent).
The No. 1 image associated with South Korea was K-pop with a rating of 18.5 percent, followed by hansik (12.2 percent), drama (7.8 percent), the IT industry (7.3 percent) and hallyu stars (5.8 percent).
According to the poll, 62.8 percent said their perception of Korea positively changed after experiencing Korean cultural content, marking a similar level to last year’s 62.3 percent.
About 42 percent said they expect their interest in Korean cultural content to grow over the next year.