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This is my tl:dr rant on Dramafever.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Dramafever, I was one of the first people to try their site and jump in for a paid subscription, but now…
1. They are turning into the Apple of the subbing world. It’s one thing to go after the big sites, which are making profits, but going after the volunteer subbing teams, who have been around way before the DF team did their first business model PowerPoint?
2. I love K-dramas and I don’t mind paying a fee to watch them, but even with my paid subscription, if there is a drama on DF, Viki, and other site. I would first try to watch on Viki, because I prefer their more social environment and viewer commentary, and if that is not available then I would try the other site and DF as my last option. I know some are wondering why, I mean DF gives an option to watch a full episode, without cutting into parts, so isn’t that better? Well yes and no. I already explained why I would choose Viki first, but I choose the other site over DF, because I absolutely dislike DF’s video player, you can’t fast forward, rewind or even pause, without having to refresh/rebuffer the video. And despite their claims of High Definition, when I put the video on full screen, even the 480p on YT or Viki looks sharper and clearer.
3. I get that they are trying to be the Hulu of the K-drama world, but the latest site changes are problematic, it’s like Hulu without enough pages, so everything looks cluttered. I know my fellow soompiers know something about disastrous site upgrades, having experienced the disaster that is soompi’s change to vanilla forums, but that is a discussion for another day. The new DF is just not aesthetically pleasing.
4. What really irks me though is the subbing. Ha, the subbing, the main point of the whole thing. I really dislike when DF is the only site that gets licensing for a drama, because that means you have to wait 3 or more days to get the week’s episodes subbed. Whereas the other subbing sites, usually have a 24 hour turn around, and if the drama is popular or has an idol in it, then the turnaround window is even shorter. Waiting for subbed episodes stifles discussions on the drama threads, because some have watched, while some are still waiting and ends up affecting the popularity of the drama to international fans.
5. Not only is the subbing time longer, but because they cater primarily to a North American audience, they tend to translate the subs using American colloquialism. It is somewhat jarring, because even with limited Korean, one can deduce that the Ajussi that just spoke did not use an American slang. I am not saying subs have to be a direct translation, because then it would just be Google translate gibberish. Subbing is an art not a science, an appropriate middle ground can be achieved.
Like I said, I like Dramafever, anything that makes K-dramas available has my vote, but DF needs to focus more on improving their service, increase their drama database and improve the quality and speed of their subbing, rather than tiresome cosmetic changes to their site interface.