[THE INVESTOR] Naver
, led by founder Lee Hae-jin
, has invested 23.3 billion won (US$20.9 million) to establish WAV Media -- a video streaming service -- in the US.
Naver confirmed Aug.19 that it created WAV Media as a subsidiary in California in June this year.
Naver founder Lee Hae-jin
“This is one of the many ideas we have in regards to making inroads in the US,” said Choi Seo-hee, a spokesperson for Naver here. “We believe the most effective content would be that localized for the US markets, so we are looking in that direction.”
So far, most South Korean content introduced overseas has been focused on Korean pop entertainment. But hallyu has not penetrated the mainstream US market, meaning Naver would have to find custom-made content for the US in order to achieve mass appeal.
One way is to deliver real-time streaming services with serious musical content, based on its V platform.
With V, Naver is able to offer seamless live video content through more than 170 channels. It also provides automatic translation services for global audiences.
The proportion of overseas-based V users has risen to 80 percent of the total, from an initial 60 percent.
“North America and Europe is where Naver’s ultimate challenges lie, but because the existing technology or messenger services are not viable strategies, we are planning to make large-scale investments into new technology or services to aid the penetration into these markets,” Lee had said in July at a press conference marking the initial public offering of Line in Japan and the US.
The South Korean tech firm has been seeking entry into Western markets after its Japan-based messenger service Line took off in Asia, with users based mainly in areas such as Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.
WAV Media is not the first US subsidiary for Naver. It currently operates up to five US affiliates, but so far none have been armed with specific technology or service for entering North America.
By Kim Ji-hyun (email@example.com