The Korea Herald


Video streaming services focus on original content in S. Korea amid new competition

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 8, 2021 - 11:17

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This undated graphic, provided by Tving, shows its logo. (Tving) This undated graphic, provided by Tving, shows its logo. (Tving)
Video streaming services in South Korea are headed for heated competition this year as local media companies and global giants alike splurge on original content to take a solid position in the booming local market.

Earlier this week, local media giant CJ ENM Co. said it is partnering with production company JTBC Studios to operate its over-the-top (OTT) service Tving.

CJ ENM said the new joint venture will invest 400 billion won ($365.3 million) in production costs over the next three years in a move to acquire competitive content as rivals eye a greater slice of the market.

Netflix Inc. has spent 770 billion won on making Korean titles since 2015, while local player Wavve, which launched in 2019, has promised to invest 300 billion won in content production until 2023.

The US streaming giant has recently made further inroads in producing Korean content, announcing this week that it has rented out 16,000 square meters of filming studio space in Gyeonggi, north of Seoul.

Netflix has enjoyed success in the country on the back of its hit Korean titles, such as the zombie thriller series "Kingdom" (2019), with its paid users in the local market estimated at 3.6 million as of October last year, according to data tracker WiseApp.

The focus on original content production comes as the market faces new competition this year, such as from Walt Disney Co.'s flagship streaming service Disney+ and industry outsider and local e-commerce giant Coupang.

The US media titan has said it will enter the South Korean market sometime this year and is poised to bring its massive catalogue of original content that ranges from its Star Wars series to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Last month, Coupang launched its video streaming service Coupang Play, bundling it with the company's delivery membership, following in the footsteps of Inc, which offers similar services. Coupang's bundled membership costs 2,900 won a month, undercutting Netflix's cheapest local monthly plan of 9,500 won.

The South Korean e-commerce giant has also hinted at producing original content, further ramping up competition. (Yonhap)