Amazon announced its first original South Korean produced television show, The Idolm@ster, slated for 2017.
Over the past few weeks, Amazon has announced several new unique series in a likely effort to compete with Netflix, who seems to not be letting up on their original shows, movies, and specials. While most of their Prime streaming service is only available to paying members (like most sites), Amazon explores more cultural and diverse programing, like Transparent, which has gone on to win countless awards. “The Idolm@ster.kr is the perfect combination of Japanese idol culture and Korean drama power,” says head of content at Amazon’s Asia Pacific Prime Video, James Farrell. Representative director of Interactive Media Mix, Sohn Il-Hyung says “This project fuses the fantastic Japanese intellectual property The Idolm@ster with Korean drama and K-Pop that is enjoyed around the world.”
Debuting in 2005, Bandai Namco Entertainment released an instant success with the game, The Idolm@ster, which follows the lives of aspiring female K-pop singers, and their journey to stardom. “It merges fiction with reality as it features a group of aspiring female K-pop singers as themselves in a scripted drama about the struggles of launching a music career.” Players can choose between ten different characters, and explore the various obstacles that block the path to fame. It is also noted that players heavily interact with other characters, forming relationships that can sometimes go sour, creating a vicious rivalry. To date, this game has generated over 10 billion yen, which is close to $100 million in revenue, and can expect to increase once the show is released.
Marked as Amazon’s first South Korean original show, The Idolm@ster is drawing its influence from a dominate inspiring focus on K-pop, and mixing it with intense, television drama. James Farrell stated, “The idols include K-Pop sirens, as well as Japanese and other international singers, and we’re confident that The Idolm@ster fans and viewers alike all over the world will become addicted to watching their careers bloom.” And if you think about it, the premise isn’t much unlike the reality shows that air on a daily basis. This live action adaptation is the result of collaboration between Interactive Media Mix, who specializes in distributing Korean TV dramas, and the game’s production company, Bandai Namco Entertainment.
While The Idolm@ster spans over various video and smartphone platforms, and even a few social media games, this marks its first time being adapted for television. Sohn Il-Hyung, stated, “With Amazon distributing, the show can be seen by a global audience. I’m really delighted to work on this project that fulfills our dreams. What makes the project unique is that, rather than have actresses play the idols, girls who want to become idols play themselves in this mix of reality and fiction.”
Amazon plans to release The Idolm@ster through is Prime services in 2017, with no official release date given. While the language of the show is likely to be in Korean, localized versions, such as English and Japanese, will also be made available.