South Korean celeb programs popular in North

The popularity of South Korean celebrity entertainment programs is spreading to North Korea, according to Daily NK, an online newspaper specializing in news from the communist country.

Shows such as "Infinite Challenge" and "1 Night 2 Day," featuring Kang Ho-dong and Yoo Jae-seok, are being watched by North Koreans on DVD, according to the report. The programs show celebrities collaborate and compete with each other in various games. North Koreans reportedly buy the DVD copies on the black market.

The trend has led North Korean students to imitate games shown on the programs. North Korean citizens enjoy the shows as they get a chance to "feel as if they were actually in the South," the report said. Some North Koreans even show the South Korean programs to their children, as they believe the programs are "educational" because they help build teamwork.

North Koreans often go to rental shops to get DVDs. It usually costs 500 North Korean won to borrow a DVD, but South Korean soap operas and entertainment programs cost four times more, a price that equals a kilo of rice in North Korea.

Smugglers purchase thousands of DVDs produced in China for less than $0.50 each, according to a North Korean defector. When crossing the border, they bribe soldiers with money for the DVDs, according to the report.