Netflix plans to produce original S. Korean series
CONTENT-streaming service Netflix will be announcing plans for original South Korean series within the year, it said at a press conference yesterday.
This is only the beginning of Netflix's foray into the South Korean market, said chief executive and co-founder Reed Hastings.
The company is "very focused on expanding" and regards South Korea as a "pivotal market in Asia," he added.
Netflix's current projects in South Korea include the film Okja, directed by Bong Joon Ho, and Korean-English drama series Dramaworld, produced in partnership with streaming service Viki.
The service launched in South Korea in January as part of its global expansion effort.
Currently, the company is filming an international competition series titled Ultimate Beastmaster in California with an entirely Korean cast and Korean comedians Seo Kyung Suk and Park Kyeong Rim as hosts.
"Whereas Hollywood studios previously spread American content to other countries, we're trying to export content from around the world to the rest of the world," said Mr Hastings.
"We started producing original programming in local languages in Mexico, Germany, France, Spain, Argentina and... now Korea."
Netflix has also been cooperating closely with local tech giants Samsung and LG and major content providers, Mr Hastings noted.
Last month, it reached a licensing agreement with D'Live, a local cable TV operator, to make Netflix available on its set-top box.
"When (Samsung and LG) sell smart TVs around the world, the main content source is Netflix and the Internet," said Mr Hastings.
Currently, however, only a few older South Korean films are available on Netflix, a shortcoming that will be rectified gradually, according to Netflix chief of content Ted Sarandos.
"When we launch into new territory, we use our time to learn the market and study what local viewers are seeing," he said.
Since starting out in 1997 as a DVD mailing service, Net-flix has grown into a global content provider, pay streaming service and, since 2011, a producer of original series and films.
Its first original series, House Of Cards, will have its fifth season next year.
Since then, Netflix has produced several hit shows, including Orange Is The New Black.
THE KOREA HERALD/
ASIA NEWS NETWORK