Netflix owes much to South Korea for sustaining growth amid overall global stagnation.
According to its earnings report Netflix added 2.2 million net new paid customers worldwide in the third quarter, and nearly half 1 million came from South Korean and Japan. “We’ve achieved double digit penetration of broadband homes in both South Korea and Japan,” the company said in a letter to shareholders when it announced its third quarter earnings.
The net gain of 2.2 million in the previous three months came in much below analysts’ forecast of 3.57 million. It would have fared much worse if not for the growth in the Asia Pacific market.
The growth has been mostly fueled by popularity of Netflix’s original content produced in Korea. The company has been dedicated to Netflix originals by spending almost $700 million to sign partnerships with international producers over the past five years, but the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 has interrupted its production elsewhere but Korea.
The world’s biggest subscription streaming video platform has inked multi-year content partnerships with Korea’s major producers including CJ ENM and Studio Dragon since late last year. It now offers more than 70 Korean-made original shows available in 31 subtitled languages and 20 dubbed languages.
The gain in paid customers in Japan has been largely led by the popularity of “Crash Landing on You,” Korea’s mega-hit drama offered exclusively on Netflix. There are four Korean-made shows on the list of top 10 most popular Netflix programs in Japan.
Netflix first entered the Korean market in 2016 and expanded its access to Korean consumers in 2018 when it signed a two-year exclusive contract with LG Uplus to provide its service via its internet protocol TV platform. Now that the contract has expired, KT has recently landed partnership with Netflix. KT said there is a 10 to 20 percent increase in inquiries regarding Netflix.
By Shin Hyun-gyu, Lee Seung-yoon, Shin Hye-rim and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]