SEOUL, Jul. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Global streaming service Netflix is rapidly emerging as a promising alternative for the South Korean TV industry, as political tension with China, once the biggest export destination of South Korean TV shows, has put a strain on local content creators.
Netflix’s recent purchases of South Korean TV series such as “Stranger” and “Man to Man” comes as the international streaming giant is increasingly being seen trying to attract Asian audiences by expanding its range of content, a shift from its previous strategy to focus on its original shows as part of its efforts to appeal to a wider audience.
TvN’s weekend series ‘Stranger’ starring South Korea actress Bae Doo-na, who gained recognition in English-speaking countries after appearing in Hollywood movies including Cloud Atlas and Netflix’s original series ‘Sense 8’, was sold for $200,000 per episode, and is being aired simultaneously on the streaming service except for in South Korea and China.
As the 16-episode cable TV series attracted Netflix’s attention with the appearance of internationally recognized actress Bae, producers of another South Korean cable TV show, ‘Black’, are thought to be in talks with Netflix over a broadcasting rights deal as the show features famous South Korean actor Song Seung-heon and is written by screenwriter Choi Ran, who also wrote the hit series ‘God’s Gift’, which was picked up by American TV network ABC for a remake scheduled to be aired later this month.
Another series bought by Netflix is JTBC’s ‘Man to Man’, which was sold for $350,000 per episode, bringing in a total of 6.4 billion won as the show consists of 16 episodes.
As Netflix has become a popular streaming service in the West, a string of purchases of South Korean TV series in recent years suggests the streaming giant is branching out into the Southeast Asian market off the back of the popularity of South Korean celebrities.
According to the CEO of Mountain Movement, the production company behind the hit series ‘Man to Man’, Netflix’s launch in Thailand was boosted by its association with the show.
Some industry experts, however, warn South Korean content creators signing deals with Netflix to exercise caution, as the streaming giant often asks for international broadcasting rights, citing its service availability in over 190 countries.
“If you consider everything, Netflix is purchasing South Korean TV content at a rather cheap price, which is a point often overlooked by content creators due to the lack of demand created by the absence of the Chinese market,” a TV industry expert said.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)