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Silver creators win the heart of the youth

Posted March. 28, 2019 07:43,   

Updated March. 28, 2019 07:43


Lee Duk-hwa, a middle-aged actor who transformed into a YouTuber, entered a wig company, where he is a spokesmodel. The YouTube video, where he teaches the production team on how to choose a wig and engages in “self-dissing” recorded more than 10,000 viewers. This is a scene from his YouTube channel “Dukhwa TV” that the actor started from January. The preview of the “wig unboxing” episode helped his channel to attract more than 50,000 subscribers.

“Silver content,” produced by the older generation including Lee Duk-hwa and singer Joo Hyun-mi, is gaining popularity. By adding their years of experience with a fresh image different of their previous, middle-aged entertainers are drawing not only their old fans but also the main YouTube viewers ranging from teenagers to those in 30s.  

On her YouTube channel “Joo Hyun-mi TV,” which the singer opened late last year, Joo sings various trot songs requested by fans. From her hit song “That Sinsa-dong Man” to “Ruins of Hwangseong” and "Tears of Mokpo,” Joo presents songs from the 1920s and 1930s as well. The singer said she started YouTube because of deceased stages to promote trot songs but those who watch her show are diverse.

tvN’s variety show “Soo-mi’s Side Dishes,” where veteran actress Kim Soo-mi introduces side dishes, is maintaining people’s attention ever since it started in June last year. The 70-year-old actress, with a tough image, introduces ample homemade side dishes generously. The program connects one-person households that are nostalgic about homemade dishes made by their mother. Its representative recipes have been made into a cookbook under the same name as the program, becoming a best-seller.

Among silver-content creators, Park Mak-rye is the No. 1 YouTuber with more than 790,000 subscribers. Combination of a relaxed attitude with her amusing talking skills and honesty has helped the 72-year-old lady form a wide range of fans that incorporate her grandchildren’s generation. This is similar to how the video of Ji Byung-soo (age 77), also known as “Haldambi,” has become popular amongst the youth by recently reinterpreting singer Son Dambi’s “Crazy” at the KBS National Singing Contest.

Such trend is explained as the “Newtro (new retro)” that reinterprets retro by adding a new sentiment. “This provides memories and nostalgia to the older generation that remember the golden ages of Lee Duk-hwa, Kim Soo-mi, and Joo Hyun-mi in the past and a fresh delight to the younger generation,” culture critic Jeong Deok-hyeon said. “The strength of silver contents is that various generations can relate and enjoy.”

Seo-Hyun Lee baltika7@donga.com