Netflix had a 33 percent share of South Korea’s 14.1 million SVOD subscribers as of the end of 2021, thanks in large part to its slate of premium local content, according to new data from Media Partners Asia (MPA).
MPA’s South Korea Online Video Consumer Insights & Analytics notes that South Koreans streamed 31 billion minutes of SVOD and freemium content in Q4, with Netflix taking a 36 percent share of that watch time. More than half of Netflix’s Korean consumption is driven by local content, MPA says, with American fare taking a 25 percent share.
Waave, the service owned by SKT, KBS, SBS and MBC, is also driven by local content, namely variety, drama and more from its terrestrial channel parent companies. Content from KBS, SBS and MBC contributes 75 percent to Wavve consumption, with variety shows particularly popular, MPA observes. The service took a 21 percent share of SVOD/freemium streaming minutes in Q4 and 19 percent of SVOD subs. TVING, operated by CJ ENM and JTBC, is also dominated by local content, scoring a 16 percent share of streaming time and 18 percent of subscribers. The other dominant local player, Coupang Play, owned by e-commerce giant Coupang, offers movies, variety and drama from the U.S., U.K. and Korea, kids’ educational content, international sports and originals. It had an 8 percent share of streaming minutes and SVOD subs.
Disney+ arrived in South Korea in November and by year-end had secured about 2 percent of streaming minutes and 7 percent of SVOD subs. Having also bet heavily on Korean drama, Disney+ is expected to see gains in streaming time and consumption this year.
“With Netflix’s scale and Disney’s launch, Korea has emerged as a hub for premium local content production with consistent cadence and travelability across APAC and international markets,” said Vivek Couto, executive director of MPA. “Within Korea, nearly 70 percent of premium video consumption is driven by Korean dramas, movies and variety shows, while U.S. series and movies capture 14 percent. With five major brands driving SVOD and investing heavily in local content, the entry of new tier 1 SVOD platforms is expected to be challenging unless integrated with existing players (i.e. Paramount-TVING) or new disruptive strategies are introduced to take market share from incumbents.”