Netflix Sets $500 Million Korean Content Spend


Netflix has revealed that it will be investing almost $500 million in Korean content this year.

The streamer had 3.8 million paid memberships in Korea as of the end of 2020. Local content is key to the platform’s success in the territory and across the region.

“The K-Wave, or Hallyu as we call it here in Korea, is a huge moment of national pride and we’re proud to be part of it,” said Minyoung Kim, VP of content for Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. “Great Korean stories are nothing new; in fact, storytelling is deeply rooted in Korean culture. But today we live in a world where Parasite is an Academy Award Best Picture winner, BlackPink plays Coachella and over 22 million households tune into a horror TV series, Sweet Home. Audiences around the world are falling in love with Korean stories, artists and culture.”

Netflix began investing in Korean content in 2016. Its first Korean original was the zombie thriller Kingdom and since then it has delivered more than 80 series and films to subs across the globe. On the slate for this year are series such as The Silent Sea, Squid Game and Kingdom: Ashin of the North; the films Carter and Moral Sense; reality series Baik’s Spirit; docs such as My Love and a sitcom, So Not Worth It.

According to Media Partners Asia (MPA), Korea is Netflix’s third largest market in the Asia Pacific by revenues. Its growth in the market is being driven by local originals and licensed Korean content. The streamer is expected to have 33.3 million subs across AsiaPac this year, MPA reports. North Asia (Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan) will account for 39 percent of that base and 44 percent of projected regional revenues of $3.3 billion. Across the key growth markets of Korea, Japan and India, MPA projects Netflix’s content spend will hit $1 billion in 2021.