The impact of South Korean TV programs and other cultural influences is steadily growing in parts of North Korea, with one show, ‘Bungobang’, becoming a recent favorite.
Revealing the news, a Yangkang Province source told The Daily NK today, “South Korean entertainment program CDs arrive in the jangmadang every week through smugglers. Among these, there are even people putting in advance orders for ‘Bungobang’, it is so popular.”
‘Bungobang’, which goes out on SBS on Saturday afternoons, features established stars and children in various types of competition.
According to sources, the production and sale of CDs and DVDs including those of ‘Bungobang’ is becoming more and more efficient and systematic as time goes by, with illegal recording and pressing of CDs in China allowing the most popular programs to arrive in the North Korean jangmadang within a week of being shown on South Korean TV.
The August 20th episode of Bungobang, for example, can apparently be bought for 4,000 won in some jangmadang. This is the normal price for copies of the more popular shows, including favorites ‘1 Night, 2 Days’ and ‘Muhan Dojeon’.
However, prices then diminish as the programs get older, reflecting demand, with a 3-month old ‘Bungobang’ costing just 2500 won. Those which cannot be sold in a timely fashion will eventually be heavily discounted to just 1000 won, although with rice currently costing 2500 won/kg, even that is quite a burden.
“CD sellers in the jangmadang just say ‘Bungobang, August, 2nd week’ and people who want to buy it know what she has,” the source explained, adding, “Since crackdowns are pretty serious, the deals are done in alleyways around the jangmadang, out of sight.”