Race to create original Korean content heats up among OTT players

2021.10.15 12:36:37 | 2021.10.15 12:37:02

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Major over-the-top service providers at home and abroad are upping their ante in the race for Korean original content production amid increased attention on local contents after the mega-hit of “Squid Game” through Netflix backing.

Walt Disney Company Korea, the Korean subsidiary of U.S. media giant Walt Disney Co., held a media day on Thursday and announced the launch of “APAC Creative Experience Program,” a first-of-its-kind investment project targeting burgeoning content markets of Korea and elsewhere in Asia-Pacific. The program will connect hundreds of creators from APAC with the company’s filmmakers and creators based in Hollywood, Disney explained.

As part of the project, Disney also premiered about 20 original shows produced in the APAC region including seven Korean shows to be streamed via Disney Plus that will start its service in Korea next month.

Local OTT platform operators are also planning to invest big sums of money to enhance their content assets to stay competitive against its bigger global rivals.

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Wavve, the second-largest streaming platform in the country, has vowed 1 trillion won ($845.37 million) spending by 2025 on content production. The home-grown streamer already invested 86.3 billion won in the first half of this year, a quarter of which spent on original content production, and plans to invest a total of 100 billion won this year alone to secure original content pipeline.

The country’s third-largest streaming service Tving will invest 400 billion won by 2023 to secure 30 original series each year.

KT Seezn, which was separated from the country’s major telecommunications company KT Corp. in August, said it has seen the number of streaming and viewing time of its 180 kinds of original contents nearly doubling in recent months.

Rivalry to heavily invest in Korean contents among OTT platform operators is intensifying on expectations that Korean shows ensure big profits on relatively smaller production budgets. Netflix spent 20 billion won to produce the entire episodes of its original Korean series “Squid Game,” which has become the streamer’s most-watched show ever. It typically costs well above 10 billion won to produce one episode of Hollywood dramas.

By Na Hyun-joon, Woo Soo-min and Lee Soo-min

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