SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Global streaming giant Netflix Inc. has topped South Korea’s over-the-top (OTT) service ranking in the four years since its debut, largely thanks to a localization strategy focused on investing massive sums into the production of local content, experts say.
Initially, Netflix faced unwilling customers who weren’t used to the idea of spending money to purchase video content, many of whom were also not used to watching foreign features.
That’s when Netflix came up with the idea of localizing its content, attracting more subscribers by offering various features that South Koreans can better relate to.
Netflix invested 57.8 billion won (US$48.3 million) in “Okja,” a 2017 Netflix original film directed by Bong Joon-ho, which garnered a significant PR effect.
According to WiseApp, an app market analysis platform, the number of Netflix subscribers jumped from 90,000 to over 200,000 after the release of “Okja.”
Other localized Netflix original series such as “Kingdom” and “Extracurricular” were major successes.
For Netflix, the acquisition of intellectual property through production investment is far more important than earlier screenings, since the company needs sustained features for distribution.
Broadcasting rights are not enough to utilize various features in the long run.
Netflix makes a series of investments in the pre-production phase, mid-production phase, and post-production phase to bring various films and series to its subscription platform, and wins foreign rights.
Last November, Netflix concluded a three-year content sharing agreement with South Korean entertainment giant CJ ENM and cable channel JTBC for some 20 features.
It also purchased a 4.99 percent share of CJ ENM’s subsidiary Studio Dragon, one of the country’s leading series producers.
Netflix is expected to continue its investment in production of South Korean content, since the country is a shortcut to entering the Asian market.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, wrote in a column for the Los Angeles Times noting that various features are still being produced in South Korea, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Ashley Song (email@example.com)