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[News Focus] Coupang bets on Olympics to grow streaming service

Coupang Play to target sports fans with latest deal to win online Olympics broadcasting rights

(Coupang)
(Coupang)
E-commerce platform operator Coupang has once again surprised the market by winning the exclusive rights to broadcast the Tokyo Olympics online, apparently beating out local tech giants Naver and Kakao.

For the deal, which has not yet been officially announced, Coupang may have agreed to pay up to 50 billion won ($44 million), industry observers said Monday, adding that it testifies the Nasdaq-traded firm’s strong intent to expand into the over-the-top content business.

Since launching Coupang Play late last year, the e-commerce giant has made a series of livestreaming deals.

Earlier this year, it announced it would live stream all games featuring Tottenham Hotspur – the English football club that South Korean player Son Heung-min is part of.

In March, the streaming service also streamed a men‘s football friendly match between South Korea and Japan that took place in Yokohama, Japan.

The moves are seen as part of efforts to grow the portfolio of its streaming service Coupang Play which boasts a range of TV shows, films and animations including the Oscar-winning film “Minari” and its original series “Saturday Night Live Korea.”

Football matches have been a distinctive addiction to Coupang Play’s portfolio, as well as educational content.

Analysts say is Coupang’s focus on sports is an effort to lock in certain groups of users such as sports fans and parents, giving an edge to the latecomer in an industry dominated by Netflix and South Korean platforms Wavve and Tving.

Netflix boasted over 10 million monthly active users in February, according to data released iGworks, a mobile big data platform.

Data released from iGworks in March also said a daily average of some 70,000 users use Coupang Play.

The company plans to invest billions of won this year alone, according to multiple reports.

Launched in December last year, the over-the-top service provides unlimited streaming to premium members of Coupang, known as Wow Members.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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