Netflix is doubling down on Korean content after making a global impact with series like Squid gameAnd glory And Physical: 100.
On Monday, the channel said, in a statement addressed to the local Korean press, that it will spend $2.5 billion in South Korea over the next four years to produce Korean non-scripted TV series, films and shows. The huge investment is double what Netflix spent in Korea between its domestic launch in 2016 and today, according to the company.
The investment plans were first shared during a meeting between South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos in Washington, where Yoon arrived on Monday for a state visit.
“We were able to make this decision because we have great confidence that the Korean creative industry will continue to tell great stories,” Sarandos said. “I have no doubt that our investment will enhance our long-term partnership with Korea and Korea’s creative ecosystem,” he added.
The meeting with the Korean president took place at Blair’s home in Washington and Sarandos was joined by Bella Bagaria, chief content officer at Netflix; Minyoung Kim, Vice President of Content for Asia Pacific (excluding India); and Kang Dong-han, Vice President of Korean Content.
according to The local Korean pressYoon was encouraging Netflix’s recent investment commitment, calling it a “huge opportunity” for South Korea’s entertainment sector, as well as for Netflix.
Sarandos personally kick-started Netflix’s ambitions for Korean content by funding K-writer Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi drama $50 million. Okja in 2016. Since then, the streamer has successfully achieved and driven the global growth of Korean content, releasing a series of international hits such as Beautiful houseAnd Squid gameAnd destined to perishand, most recently, a reality TV sensation 100 my body And a feature film Kill a cat.
Netflix’s investments in Korean content have proven particularly beneficial in driving subscriptions across Asia, where growth in the premium video segment hasn’t stopped yet. Last year, Netflix released 29 exclusive K-dramas, of which 6 were among the top 10 most-watched titles in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022, according to regional consulting firm MPA. K-dramas were also the most-watched content category in the Asia-Pacific region last year, accounting for 28 percent of total viewership in the region, followed by 25 percent for US series, 12 percent for American films, and 10 percent for Japanese anime, according to MPA’s analysis.
However, Netflix is not alone in its upward trend in the Korean content sector. Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are spending heavily on acquiring and producing original Korean content, which has quickly increased the costs of top talent and titles, according to industry experts in the market. Domestic broadcast services in Korea are also investing – including operators with strong local backers, such as Tving (backed by studio giant CJ ENM, broadcaster JTBC and technology company Naver) and Wavve (co-owned with broadcasters KBS, MBC, SBS and SK Telecom) . Heavy on local content to earn eyeballs at home and in the region.
During his meeting with Yoon, Sarandos described Korean creators as being now “at the center of the global cultural zeitgeist.”
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