Apr 25, 2023, 6:41am EDT
East Asia

Netflix to invest $2.5B in South Korean entertainment

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks next to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos during a news conference in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2023. Yonhap via REUTERS
Yonhap via REUTERS

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The News

Streaming giant Netflix will inject $2.5 billion into South Korean films and shows over the next four years, the platform’s co-CEO announced after a meeting with the country’s president in Washington.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is currently on a state visit to the U.S., said it was a “major opportunity” for his country during a press conference on Monday with Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.

“We were able to make this decision because we have great confidence that the Korean creative industry will continue to tell great stories,” Sarandos said.

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Know More

Some of the platform’s biggest successes in recent years have come from Korean content. In 2021, the South Korean production Squid Game became an overnight hit and remains Netflix’s most popular series of all time. The series, which revolves around a fictional, deadly game show, was viewed in at least 142 million households around the world.

Squid Game’s success on the streaming service is not an outlier.

The Glory, another South Korean drama, has spent 11 weeks in Netflix’s top 10 list and was the 5th most popular non-English series to ever stream on the platform, according to the company’s most recent earnings report.

More than 60% of all Netflix subscribers watched content from South Korea in the last year.

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Step Back

Netflix is exploring new revenue streams in the wake of declining subscriptions, and may be turning to South Korea because the country has become an entertainment industry behemoth.

In January, Reuters reported that Netflix was struggling to woo new and existing subscribers in the now-saturated streaming industry.

Despite sliding share prices and declining revenue last year, Netflix’s first-quarter earnings in 2023 showed a 4% boost for the company when compared to the same period last year.


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