Why is Generation MZ obsessed with audio dramas over Netflix? | Inbebo Skip to main content

Why is Generation MZ obsessed with audio dramas over Netflix?

Why is Generation MZ obsessed with audio dramas over Netflix?
Visual Novel Artist

Popular audio dramas produced voice-only have proven popular for web novels and webtoons and hit the box office to tremendous appeal. Generation MZ, recognized as a new entertainment segment, has a taste for multitasking. Which in part explains the upswing in audio-only content. The added bonus? Audio-only is low production cost allowing for more creative and unusual stories funded. Webtoons also come with their own bases of fans indicating higher probability of future success.

Actor Lee Jun and Apink's former member Park Chorong are back with a new work. But the stage is neither Netflix nor YouTube. Instead, the two voices that cannot be imitated are gaining popularity through the audio drama. Fans commented, "It's fun to listen to dramas like this. We are looking forward to the future.”

Amid the flood of Netflix and YouTube, the popularity of audio dramas is rapidly spreading. The MZ generation is at the center of it. It seems that audio dramas are taking their place as new emotional content for the MZ generation, who are familiar with video content. This is a new entertainment for them.

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Following this trend, more web novels or webtoons are translated into audio dramas. Movies and dramas based on webtoons and web novels have continued for a long time, but recently, audio dramas have been released one after another.

A typical example is Naver's audio streaming service, Audioclip. Naver has been introducing audio dramas based on web novels since 2018 through audio clips. Lately, we have been constantly releasing new products. 

Kakao is also working hard on audio dramas, such as casting famous celebrities as the lead roles. On the 19th, a new audio drama 'I Want to Hurt' was released, breaking the custom of using voice actors, and actors Lee Joon and Apink's Park Chorong appeared as male and female protagonists. 

The demand for audio dramas is also steadily increasing. According to Naver, the total number of subscribers to audio dramas in Audio Clip alone exceeds 500,000. Among them, there are three audio dramas with 100,000 subscribers as a single work. 

Noh Seung-yeon, head of Naver Webtoon's global IP business department, said, "The breathing, which is based on delicious lines, blends well with the acting of professional voice actors, and is receiving a great response from fans of audio dramas and voice actors including the original fans." Kakao is also steadily introducing audio dramas using its intellectual property (IP). According to Kakao, the audio dramas 'Meet the Man' and 'To Help the Understanding of the Party' both recorded 1 million views.

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Why is Generation MZ obsessed with audio dramas? 

MZ generation loves audio dramas in part because they devour them as a highly intimate and emotional medium. The industry's explanation is that audio dramas focused on hearing only approached the MZ generation, who are accustomed to video, as fresh entertainment. The retro sensibility of the previous generation of teenagers, who were obsessed with radio programs such as 'Starry Night' instead of TV, is also working. 

Audio dramas also offer the MZ generation entertainment while multitasking. Unlike video content that requires your eyes to concentrate, audio dramas can be listened to while working or studying. Ahn Chang-hyeon, a research professor at Hallym University's Health and New Media Research Center, said, "One of the characteristics of the MZ generation is that they value time, and audio dramas capable of multitasking hit this. 

Experts predicted that the popularity of audio dramas will continue in the future. Because the tastes of the MZ generation and the supply strategy of platform companies are intertwined. 

Audio dramas are attractive enough from a business operator's point of view. Based on the proven popular webtoon and web novel storytelling, it is possible to create secondary content works the fastest. An industry official said, “Even if you make a webtoon-based drama, it takes at least several months to get actors, locations, and screenplay work. can be significantly reduced,” he said. 

Above all, the low production cost is considered a popular factor among producers. It takes at least several billions of dollars to make a webtoon into a drama movie. In fact, in 2017, as a result of a survey conducted by the Korean Film Council on the production cost of first-run films, the average production cost was 2.6 billion won. The industry estimates that now it has risen significantly from that time.

An industry official said, "Recently, even web dramas cost several billion won to produce," and "However, audio dramas require only voice actors and sound effects, so the cost burden is relatively low." 
Source: Jong-ho Song, Newsis (March 21)

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