Producing For an International Audience

Klaudia Rekas - K-Pop Goes International with After School Club
Jake Macfarlane's picture Jake Macfarlane 2 years 7 months ago

After School Club is a live South Korean talk show and music request program.

The show broadcasts online and is directed at an international audience, being

primarily in English with Korean subtitles and on-air translations. After School

Club allows fans of Korean pop music (K-Pop) to interact live with the show

through social media. During the show, fans from all over the world join in on the

broadcast via real-time comment feeds. They also participate in video chats with

their favourite Korean musicians using Google Hangouts. These musicians tend

to be boy or girl groups, which are very popular in Korea. The show currently has

three co-hosts: Kevin Woo, Park Jimin, and Jae. All of them are involved in the

Korean music industry and are musicians themselves.

The structure of the show is consistent with each episode, but certain segments

change depending on the guest that is featured on the show. Typically, the show

starts with host introductions and banter, followed by an introduction of the music

group that will be featured on the show. The first segment involves the group

members answering questions and requests sent in by fans through live tweets

to the program's Twitter handle. The fans are asked to include their name and

location in the tweet, thereby demonstrating the reach that K-Pop has worldwide.

At this point in the show, the group is asked to make a pose for the camera. The

fans are to take a photo with this pose and submit it for the chance to win a

signed CD at the end of the program. The second segment, "Album Talk"

focuses on the group's newest album or single. The hosts ask questions about

the album's visual concept, songs, and choreographed dance that the group

performs with their single. At the end of the segment, a part of the dance is

performed live for the fans. The third segment makes use of Google Hangouts,

where fans can ask questions or make requests to the group members directly

through video chat. The following segment changes with every episode, but

usually features an organized game or challenge of some kind for the group to

participate in. After this there is always another round of Google Hangouts, as

well as a video showing dance covers and fanart made by fans. In the final

segment, the hosts ask a few more questions before wrapping up the show and

revealing the winner of the fan pose challenge.

After School Club is a program that targets a niche audience of K-Pop fans

around the world, and is very successful in doing so. Other K-Pop shows based

in South Korea are produced for a Korean audience, which makes After School

Club unique by catering to a broader international fanbase. As Korean pop music

is gaining attention worldwide, there is more opportunity to reach this growing

audience, especially with online content. After watching this show, you can really

see the energy and excitement of fans that get the opportunity to interact with

Korean stars, or "idols" as they are commonly referred to in Korea.

In the few episodes that I watched, I managed to notice some of the difficulties of

producing a live show like this. There were a few awkward moments in the show

because of technology mishaps, delays in language translation, or unpredictable

responses by either the hosts or guests. However, the hosts always managed to

move the show along smoothly, which showed me that the program was well

planned. I enjoyed the conversational tone that the hosts presented in. It made

the interactions between everyone involved more natural and friendly, and

created a non-intimidating environment for fans to approach and communicate

with the K-Pop groups on the show. Even through friendly banter at the

beginning of the show, the hosts use a humorous approach to pull the audience

in and make them feel like they are watching their friends on screen. The

segments are creative and organized in a fun way that lets fans learn about the

guests on the show and see their personalities.

I would watch this show from time to time since I have an interest in Korean

music and culture. I would be especially keen to watch if the guest on the show

was a music group or artist that I knew of. I imagine that this is how most viewers

tune into the show. Since the topic of the show is very niche, most likely only K-
Pop fans in Canada would be watching it. A few of the episodes I saw featured

Canadian fans submitting tweets or on video chat, so I can say for certain that

After School Club is able to reach an audience in Canada. These Canadian

viewers would find the international focus of the program interesting because

unlike most Korean K-Pop shows, After School Club uses social media to get

fans directly in touch with K-Pop stars. These kinds of opportunities are ones that

fans always dream about.