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LG U+ upbeat about Disney partnership on content streaming

CEO aims to expand nontelecom biz to 30% by 2025

LG U+ CEO Hwang Hyeon-sik speaks during a press conference at the carrier‘s headquarters in Yongsan, central Seoul, Wednesday. (LG U+)
LG U+ CEO Hwang Hyeon-sik speaks during a press conference at the carrier‘s headquarters in Yongsan, central Seoul, Wednesday. (LG U+)
The chief of LG U+, the smallest of the three major mobile carriers in South Korea, on Wednesday expressed confidence that Disney would choose it as the local partner for its Disney+ streaming service launch, slated for September.

“Disney puts its top priority on customer convenience and requires very high standards in terms of quality of content service,” said CEO Hwang Hyeon-sik, during his first press conference since taking office seven months ago. His remarks were embargoed until Thursday.

“LG’s Android-based content service may have appealed to Disney, while our flagship content Kids World is a similar segment with Disney’s offering,” he said. “Our previous marketing partnerships including one with Netflix also seem to be appealing to the ongoing talks with Disney.”

Hwang’s comments came after media reports that Disney was close to signing a deal with LG U+ to service Disney+ on its home broadband network. In 2018, Netflix entered Korea via the IPTV service of LG U+.

Regarding the latest court case concerning the dispute between Netflix and SK Broadband on network usage fees, Hwang said the matter would be “negotiable between two partners.”

He, however, added that LG U+ does not think about the fee issue “significantly.”

Hwang highlighted LG U+ will concentrate its efforts on further enhancing its strengths, seeking to achieve qualitative growth rather than quantitative.

“We will discover new growth opportunities in the areas we are excelling,” he said. “Rather than launching our own OTT (over-the-top) service, we will increase investments in original content and further develop Kids World, Idol Live, VR/AR (virtual reality and augmented reality), Pro Baseball and Golf broadcasting services.”

LG will grow the three flagship content services, Kids World, Idol Live and Pro Baseball and Golf, into independent platforms by making more investments in them.

“For Kids Worlds, the company will increase play-focused interactive content and partner with a variety of education companies to make it a platform not only for children, but also for teachers and parents,” Hwang said.

Such plans will help the company less rely on the traditional telecom business under its goal of expanding the sales from non-telecom businesses from the current 20 percent to 30 percent of the firm’s total revenue by 2025.

Vowing to transform the telecom firm into a “digital innovation business,” the chief also underscored the importance of “putting customers first.”

“By accumulating and analyzing customer data thoroughly, we have changed the way we work to ease customers’ pain points and fix the problems swiftly,” Hwang said. “Our goal is to gradually increase the pool of ‘real fans’ of LG U+, who are avid for our services and recommend LG services to others. That way, we can achieve qualitative growth.”

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)
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