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Korean streaming platforms’ survival plan: original content

A scene from Tving’s “Work Later, Drink Now.” (Tving)
A scene from Tving’s “Work Later, Drink Now.” (Tving)

Netflix’s “Squid Game” has proven original content’s power to attract subscribers.

Following the release of the Korean content in September, the global streaming platform’s monthly active users here reached 9.48 million, the highest since the company entered the Korean market, according to data from Nielsen Korea.

Many of the major Korean streaming platforms have been creating original content to secure their own market shares in the Korean market.

CJ ENM’s streaming platform Tving has been aggressively creating its own shows, a goal that was announced at the beginning of the year.

“We will create up to 100 items of original content for the Tving platform by 2023,” Tving co-CEO Yang Ji-eul said during a press event in Seoul in May.

In January, Tving introduced its first original show, “Girl’s High School Mystery Class.” It was created by tvN producer Jeong Jong-yeon, who is widely known for creating popular reality game shows “The Genius” and “Great Escape.” Celebrities such as Jang Do-yeon, Park Ji-yoon and Bibi appeared on the show as high school girls and solved mysteries. The first season episodes of “Girl’s High School Mystery Class” were streamed weekly from Jan. 29 to March 19 and season two will start Dec. 31.

After the successful launch of its original entertainment show, the company continued showcasing many unconventional reality programs, such as “Transit Love,” a dating show that gathered ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends.

A number of original dramas with unique storylines were also introduced on CJ’s streaming platform. “Yumi’s Cells,” a drama based on a webtoon about a 30-something woman navigating the ups and downs of everyday life, was streamed on the platform from September. Another drama that was featured on the platform in October, “Work Later, Drink Now,” centers on three friends living in Seoul who love to drink.

Producers of the two dramas have announced that they will be creating sequels.

Meanwhile, the largest South Korean over-the-top platform, Wavve, has been focusing on dramas that deal with unconventional topics.

In August, it introduced its first original drama “You Raise Me Up,” starring Yoon Si-yoon. Yoon played Yong-shik, who is experiencing a loss of sex drive in his 30s.

Wavve also recently launched “Political Fever,” a political drama about a former athlete who is unexpectedly appointed as the new Culture Minister.

Korean streaming startup Watcha, which is known for featuring Korean independent and art films, is releasing four different short films under the theme “Unframed” in December. The films are directed by four well-known Korean actors, including Park Jung-min, Son Suk-ku, Choi Hee-seo and Lee Je-hoon.

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