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Disney+ to expand partnership with Korean content creators

Disney+ CEO Oh Sang-ho speaks during an online press conference held Thursday. (Walt Disney Company Korea)
Disney+ CEO Oh Sang-ho speaks during an online press conference held Thursday. (Walt Disney Company Korea)
With the global success of Korean content such as Netflix’s “Squid Game,” streaming companies are expressing heightened interest in working with content creators here.

Disney+, which will launch its streaming platform service in Korea on Nov. 12, also said it is ready to expand its partnership with Korean content makers.

“Disney is a global entertainment company that has been playing an important role in many regional markets including Korea. Based on this experience, we will connect our content capabilities with Korean creators to provide a variety of local content, and also to grow together,” Disney+ CEO Oh Sang-ho said during an online press conference held Thursday.

Although the company declined to divulge how much it will invest in the Korean content market, Jay Trinidad, general manager of the direct-to-consumer division in the Asia-Pacific region at Disney, emphasized that the company has plans to spend a “large” amount.

“Disney is a content company. We are a company of storytelling. It’s our strength. It’s what we do. You can see that in our world-class content that we invest all over the world,” he said. “We will use that philosophy here in Korea. We’ll be investing heavily in local content in this market.”

Trinidad also shared his views on what sets Korean-made content apart from others.

“I would say three things really stand out when I think of the Korean content and why it’s part of our strategy here at Disney,” he said. “I think the first one is a global appeal. I don’t think we need to talk about this too much. For us, it’s very interesting that Korean content obviously appeals in Korea, but it appeals very broadly across the Asia Pacific, especially in Southeast Asia, and it appeals globally.”

The second strength of Korean content, he said, is the high production value.

“I think different markets are in different stages of maturity of their ability to produce great content and top-of-the world class production values are being produced here,” he added.

The third advantage is its creativity, he said.

“‘Parasite’ for example, receiving the (Oscar) award -- one of my personal favorites -- you can tell that it’s not just us but the world is seeing the level of creativity,” he said. “The shows that are produced, the storylines, the writers, everything about the content is extremely creative.”
 
Jay Trinidad, general manager of the direct-to-consumer division in the Asia-Pacific region at Disney, speaks about regional content during an online press conference held Thursday. (Walt Disney Company Korea)
Jay Trinidad, general manager of the direct-to-consumer division in the Asia-Pacific region at Disney, speaks about regional content during an online press conference held Thursday. (Walt Disney Company Korea)
During the conference, Trinidad also introduced the programs that Korean subscribers would be able to watch.

“I think the key differentiating factor for Disney+ will be our world-class content and specifically our six iconic brands. We will have content from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic, Disney animated studios as well as Star, our latest brand that we are introducing into the market,” Trinidad said.

Kim So-yeon, general manager of the direct-to-consumer division of Disney+ Korea, added that the Star brand mainly caters to an older audience.

“It includes films like ‘Avatar,’ ‘Titanic,’ ‘The King’s Man’ and ‘Deadpool,’ as well as popular TV series like ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Criminal Minds’ and ‘Desperate Housewives.’ Also Korean and Asian original contents are under this brand as well,” she said.

The Disney+ subscription is set at 9,900 won ($8.50) per month or 99,000 won per year. It also allows up to four users to access the platform simultaneously on different devices.

The entrance of Disney+ is expected to shake up the streaming market here. Netflix, which launched here in 2015, has been enjoying the first mover’s advantage, with a leading 7.9 million monthly active users as of June. It currently has more than 50 percent of the market share in Korea, followed by local streaming platform operator Wavve with around 20 percent market share.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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