GenZCJ ENM vol.2
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Connecting Moments: Bridging the New Generation and
Gen Z and the Leader of the Entertainment
Scene, CJ ENM

Insight on CJ ENM’s Content
Captivating Gen Z

Why is Gen Z so enthusiastic about deduction?

  • The next ‘Squid Game’

    BBC praises Pyramid Game as the next Squid Game

  • No. 1 Buzz

    Crime Scene Returns tops the buzz in the non-fiction category for three consecutive weeks

  • No.1 increase in paid subscribers

    EXchange 3 records No. 1 on TVING in the first week of release

  • TOP 10 in 21 countries

    Apartment 404 records TOP 10 in a total of 21 countries in Amazon Prime

  • The first K-drama to come in first place

    Marry My Husband tops the Global Daily TV Show chart in Amazon Prime

Source: CJ ENM Big Data Platform Team

Looking back on the past three months, the above are all record-breaking scores for CJ ENM. We found that they all have something interesting in common. All of the content loved by Gen Z has diverse problem-solving elements. They predicted the differentiated plot for Marry My Husband from its original, guessed the individual behind the dialogue in the much-heated trailer for EXchange 3, and watched Crime Scene Returns on repeat, looking for hints that the cast may have missed. It was the opening of a “ENM Bait Party.” Even at this moment, Gen Z will be passionately digging into CJ ENM’s content. Now, let’s delve into CJ ENM’s content insights that have captured Gen Z with mystery elements.


Finding the hints hidden
by the production team

Finding the hints hidden
by the production team

EXCHANGE 3 of CJ ENM Entertainment show EXCHANGE 3 of CJ ENM Entertainment show

Building up the relationship between the production crew and viewers
with viewer-interactive elements

The production team carefully throws bait or plants unexpected devices from planning to direction. Like a game of finding hidden objects, they plant problem-solving elements here and there to maximize viewers’ immersion and interaction. Gen Z is faster than anyone else at catching and reacting to such elements. They look into posters and trailers in great detail before the original content is even released. They are already aware that the production team has hidden several hints of the upcoming plot in the posters and trailers. Let’s look at EXchange 3, which produced the most so-called “conspiracies” lately. The poster laid down the foundation for viewers to begin their reasoning by dropping various hints, such as the direction of the cast’s gazes and poses. In addition, the production team of EXchange 3 purposely revealed part of a conversation, likely to lead to massive curiosity, in the trailer and made it the most viral video. “If you had just said, ‘Honey, I’m sorry,’ I wouldn’t even be on this show.” This line became a meme and rose as the most dopamine-inducing statement. The team succeeded in raising anticipation and curiosity about the person with a story full of so much regret with a single trailer.

Lee Hye-won Cho Hwi-hyun form EXCHANGE 3 of CJ ENM Entertainment show Lee Hye-won Cho Hwi-hyun form EXCHANGE 3 of CJ ENM Entertainment show

EXchange poster and trailer

Such viewer intervention creates a bond between the production team and the viewers and leads to constant interactions, from finding who is each other's X (ex-lover) at the beginning of the show to matching the final couples at the end. Gen Z feel intellectual satisfaction by sharing their analysis and interpretation and pointing out what others have yet to discover. They even feel an indescribable catharsis when their presumptions turn out to be correct. As such, Gen Z is consuming content based on the self-efficacy they feel while discovering things that go beyond the entertainment the show provides.


Relatable settings that call for immersion

Relatable settings that call for immersion

Pyramid Game of CJ ENM drama Pyramid Game of CJ ENM drama

A fantasy universe
rooted in the real world

It is also essential to allow viewers to immerse themselves in highly realistic situations and characters and provide catharsis with unrealistic solutions. From Pyramid Game, which somewhat improbably punishes evil in the middle of a classroom that seems to be no different from any other private high school, to EXchange, an unrealistic relationship solution where one faces their ex at a sharehouse after a realistic breakup that anyone can relate to. Only when the people and background are set in a familiar setting, but the solution or narrative has fantasy elements, will it receive the viewers’ empathy and explosive reactions.’
Like how a production staff described mystery content as something with “Dramatic vibes intact with reality,” this shows that it’s imperative to start by planting realistic settings and empathic devices to make the viewers think, “This could be happening somewhere in real life.” Let’s look at High School Mystery Club as an example. The show created an Instagram account for Ko In-hye(NPC), a character in the plot, and also invited the viewers to solve the mystery through a “W3W(What 3 Words)” map. They provided devices so viewers could perceive the setting like an actual situation while watching the episodes and searching for relevant information.

High School Mystery Club2 of CJ ENM Entertainment show

“W3W” a map which allows one to participate in the mystery solving


Enhancing the fun by solving mysteries together, stimulating Gen Z’s play culture

Enhancing the fun by solving mysteries together,
stimulating Gen Z’s play culture

Crime Scene Returns of CJ ENM Entertainment show Crime Scene Returns of CJ ENM Entertainment show

The secret to success
is setting a moderate level of difficulty

Another crucial factor is that the production team has to put a lot of effort into setting an appropriate level of difficulty with the target in mind. In fact, many Gen Z cited “Appropriate level of difficulty” as a requirement for the success of mystery content. If the universe is too complex and is hard to fully understand, or in reverse, if it’s too easy, people won’t jump into wanting to solve it. In posts uploaded in communities that speak of CJ ENM’s content, expressions such as “I think” and “From what I’ve seen” are particularly noticeable in leaving an appreciation of the mystery content. According to CJ ENM Big Data Platform Team’s data, 14.8% of viewer posts about EXchange 3 correspond to viewers’ reasonings, and 23.7% out of posts on Crime Scene Returns accounted for the number of viewers who participated in solving the mystery. Like so, viewers watching CJ ENM content solve mysteries enthusiastically and present self-interpretations, continuing active conversations with other viewers.

I think the essential thing in mystery entertainment is the moderate difficulty level. Viewers watch mystery entertainment shows to enjoy solving the mystery together, but if the difficulty level is too high, the fun disappears, and interest diminishes.

Zwork Season 13 Participant ThumbsUp

Viewer-to-viewer relationships
that foster the scale of entertainment

Like so, Gen Z actively shares their analyses and closely examines others’ reactions for more plausible reasoning, discussing them in real-time. They also enjoy watching “reaction content” to note anything they’ve missed or have not discovered. Charlesenter, a creator who specializes in reaction videos, is receiving a lot of love for her uniquely refreshing comments and smooth reactions. One of the biggest reasons she is loved is that she has set up a platform for deeply immersed viewers to gather and talk. In the comment section of the Charlesenter channel, many viewers not only respond to the creator’s refreshing reactions but also share their thoughts and opinions on EXchange 3. Reaction content is a stage that allows viewers to understand the program with dimension and is slowly becoming a culture that strengthens the relationship between viewers.
In addition, Gen Z believes that the more people that watch with them, the greater the scale of the program will become and that there will be more aspects for them to immerse in and enjoy. Gen Z, who understands the ecosystem of the broadcasting system more than any other generation, is aware that a series can only be maintained with continual content consumption. The higher the buzz, the higher the production cost; therefore, more diverse attempts can be made. TVING’s original series Crime Scene Returns returned for the first time in seven years due to constant demand from die-hard fans. It can be seen as a good example as it went viral thanks to the fans promoting the show on various online communities and social media before the release and climbed the charts in TVING

My favorite series had people saying it was hard to begin watching because of the nature of its genre, but it was really well-made. I promoted the content, hoping that the quality of the drama would improve in general through more viewership.

Zwork Season 13 Participant RiceWater

Now, let’s summarize everything that's been mentioned so far.

Gen Z feels self-efficacy as they actively participate in finding the objects hidden by the production team, deeply immerse themselves, and empathize in a fantasy-like setting that resembles reality. They come up with their own answers and interpretations as if solving problems and feel a small sense of achievement upon getting the correct answer. They have established a unique play culture with others by creating various content derived from original content. As such, Gen Z is wild about content with mystery elements. Their reasoning abilities trigger constant interactions with production teams and other viewers, becoming the driving force of a program. CJ ENM content, which is full of mystery elements, will continue to captivate Gen Z in the future.

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