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6 JANUARY 2023

Welcome to this week’s edition of Culture Wire, a newsletter brought to you by Singapore-based pop culture and lifestyle marketing agency Culture Group.

👋 Hello 2023! And welcome back to a regular edition of Culture Wire. Did you miss us? Your Culture Mavens have returned from our year-end adventures – from hitting the thrift stores of Harajuku to a cottagecore trip of a lifetime to Iceland – and are ready to bring you the top of pop culture in 2023.

In this week’s edition:

  • Innovation of the Week: *cue Bee Gees* Island you can stream (on Prime Video)
  • Fax, No Printer: Jackson Wang’s post-concert shenganigans
  • Regional Round-up: K-pop debuts, Filipino love stories, sofa-based workouts and more…

Innovation of the Week


Last week, our friends at Amazon Prime Video ushered in their latest push in Southeast Asia through K-titles with the release of Island, their blockbuster K-drama program. Island is adapted from a manhwa first released in the 1990s, which was subsequently published on leading webcomic platform WEBTOON. The show stars Kim Nam-gil, Lee Da-hee, and Cha Eun-woo as a demon hunter, an entitled heiress, and a K-pop-loving elite priest. This unlikely crew will band together to take the stand against evil on Korea’s Jeju Island.

💡 Our take

As of 2022, there have been 50+ K-dramas adapted from webtoons (a portmanteau of ‘web’ and ‘cartoon’) with notable ones including Kingdom, Business Proposal and Yumi’s Cells – and Island is the latest addition. It’s part of a broader trend of OTT platforms publishing content adapted from creator-led source materials. Beyond K-titles, we see this with screen adaptations of popular titles from webnovel platform Wattpad, such as The Kissing Booth on Netflix or Cristina Lata’s creations in the Philippines.

The secret sauce to the success of these titles? The power of creators and their fan communities. Creators – such as those on WEBTOON and Wattpad – often create stories that are closer to themselves and their audience. 83% of global Gen Z turn to webnovels and webcomics for more diverse stories, to find representation that they don’t see in legacy media. And when young readers find these stories, they rally to support the creators behind them, and these passionate fan communities represent both a cultural and economic powerhouse.

In 2023, the pressure to create offerings – that are both novel, but also localized, authentic, and relevant – will only continue to mount, not just for OTT media platforms, but for all brands. Those who celebrate, champion and collaborate with creators and their fan communities will get ahead. How might your brand do so?

Fax, No Printer*

For those of you born before 1997, ‘fax, no printer‘ is Gen Z speak for ‘undeniable facts I agree with’

Where did K-pop superstar Jackson Wang end up after his Singapore show?

The afterparty, duh!

His hotel room for some well-deserved shuteye!

A 24-hour hotpot chain

Scroll to the end of the newsletter for the correct answer! 

Regional Round-up

🏋️ Just in time for your New Year’s resolutions, Nike is partnering with Netflix to bring out their all new range of workout videos. Now, you’ll be able to access thirty different classes, including vinyasa yoga, HIIT exercises, and core strengthening right from your couch.

💘 Dating has always been tricky, but Bumble’s survey of Gen Z daters in the Philippines have developed some strategies to succeed in your love life. 87% of Filipinos are confident about their dating life in 2023, and 10% want to be able to travel and date at the same time post-pandemic. Love is in the air!

🎮 League of Legends’ dedicated Southeast Asia servers will finally launch next week! Southeast Asian fans will be treated to free champions to unlock, a welcome event, and the promise of IRL parties in players’ own countries.

🎶 Spotify have developed a ‘time capsule’ site, riding on the popularity of Spotify Wrapped, that allows you to package up all your favourite songs and send them to your future self. Playlist In A Bottle launches worldwide this week, so be sure to fill up your library with everything you love as of now so future-you can look back and cringe. It’s only 2023 once!

⚠️ICYMI: YG Entertainment, the group behind K-pop powerhouses BLACKPINK, are finally debuting their latest girl group. Dubbed BABYMONSTER, this group features performers from Japan and Thailand as well as South Korea, and they’ve already the fastest K-pop group to achieve 100K followers on YouTube. Hwaiting, girls!

This Week's Trivia Answer

🍜 C. A 24-hour hotpot chain

Jackson Wang was spotted at the Marina Bay Sands’ Hai Di Lao outlet after his Magic Man tour performance in Singapore. The star decided to ring in Christmas, and cap off his night, with a traditional hot pot at five in the morning – a classic Chinese hangover cure. Jackson Wang is well on his way to global superstardom, but he never misses a chance for a callback to his roots.

More importantly, this is just the latest example of how Jackson Wang has that perfect mix of being unattainably successful and yet ridiculously relatable. He balances performing global sell-out shows and warding off hangovers at Hai Di Lao, just like any other 28 year-old would – and this personality mix is at the same time fun, authentic, and aspirational for his fans.

We will keep watching what Jackson Wang does next to delight his fans – but he is undoubtedly 2023’s hottest rising star, and you’ve heard it on Culture Wire first 😉

🚀 Over and Out!

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Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki