(Target: Filipino readers)
In case you haven’t read the news yet or your friends forgot to mention it to you, I am writing this to inform everyone that Filipino fans of Korean dramas can now watch some of them for FREE (and legally) via VIU, a streaming site that offers Korean dramas and variety shows. And yes, right now there are 208 kdramas available for streaming (I counted them, believe me). And again, you can watch all of them for free.
Some may not find this news a good news at all when many streaming sites are already freely available online. In fact, I myself has three sites to choose from whenever I decide to watch some dramas during my free time. However, I still find VIU a great development in my kdrama viewing history for the following reason:
1. VIU is legal. I’m not sure if the sites in which I watch Korean dramas before have legal rights to upload episodes of Korean drama just a few hours after their original broadcast in Korea. What I am sure about is if I have a choice to stream the shows legally in another site for free, then I’ll absolutely pick that option. I believe watching them legally is one way to support and respect them and the people who made possible their very existence. In the screenshot below of a video of Lee Jong-suk endorsing his drama W-Two Worlds on VIU, he reminds his fans to watch the drama through legal means. Think you’re guilty? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
2. VIU is free. There are 30-second ads that suddenly appear at the start or in the middle of the show but I don’t really find them annoying as they are teasers of other dramas that are also available on the site. Sometimes, the ad is VIU itself reminding the viewers that they can watch the dramas for free and download three episodes that can be watched offline on mobile phones and tablets. The viewers can erase the three episodes after watching them and download another episodes on the same day. Premium subscription is coming soon for those who are willing to pay for additional privileges, but if you don’t have the budget, the current free subscription is more than enough to satisfy your demand.
3. VIU has a mobile app. I was watching dramas on my computer only until I found out about VIU in December last year. Watching an episode on my mobile phone sometimes would be a more comfortable experience for me, so I thank VIU for giving me that option. The app can be downloaded for free on Google Play or App Store.
4. VIU saves my viewing progress. I find this a very useful feature considering that it is not available on other sites where I used to watch kdramas. If I need to stop playing an episode for some reason, there’s no need for me to remember any more the particular scene where I stopped as the feature allows me to continue viewing from my previous session.
Only four of eight currently airing (on prime time slot) kdramas in Korea are available on VIU as of this writing. These are Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, hit SBS drama Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, Oh My Geum-bi and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-jo. This is a downside to the site as the more popular drama Legend of the Blue Sea and Goblin are not available. If VIU wants to keep more loyal subscribers, it surely has to work on obtaining these and other popular dramas in the future. Some popular dramas in 2016, however, are available for you to watch again or watch for the first time. These include Reply 1988, Descendants of the Sun and W-Two Worlds.
VIU was launched in the Philippines on November 29, 2016 by PCCW Media Group, a telecommunications giant that is based in Hong Kong. It releases the episodes just eight hours after their original broadcast in Korea. Aside from Korean dramas, it also offers Korean variety shows and Japanese dramas. You don’t need an account to stream the videos that you want to watch but you need to register one if you want to download videos and watch them offline, save your viewing progress, bookmark dramas, and receive notifications on new episodes.