(CTN News) – After a meeting between Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Washington, Netflix announced intentions to invest US$2.5 billion in South Korean content over the next four years.
CEO Ted Sarandos Expresses Confidence in the South Korean Creative Industry
This news arrives as South Korea continues to rise as a cultural powerhouse on the international stage, largely thanks to the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” and the smash hit Netflix series “Squid Game.”
What Sarandos said…
Netflix is pleased to announce a US$2.5 billion investment in Korea over the next four years, funding the production of original Korean series, films, and unscripted shows. Since we launched our service in Korea in 2016, we have invested $8 million in the Korean market.
The CEO has “great confidence” in South Korea’s creative industry to keep making interesting and relevant films for consumers worldwide.
The success of recent South Korean productions like “The Glory” and “Physical 100,” Sarandos argued, places South Korean stories at the center of the global cultural zeitgeist.
According to Netflix’s stats, in 2022, more than 60% of its users streamed a South Korean production. Between 2015 and 2021, the platform would spend over 1 trillion won (about US$750 million) generating and promoting Korean content, and it has previously hinted that it would increase its output of South Korean shows, though it has not disclosed any exact spending amounts.
President Yoon Welcomes Netflix’s “Exceptional Investment Decision”
On the heels of what he called a “very meaningful” discussion with Sarandos, President Yoon voiced his appreciation and optimism amidst a six-day state visit.
President Yoon was quoted as saying that Netflix’s latest investment “will be a great opportunity for the Korean content industry, creators, and Netflix” in a transcript provided to AFP by his office. The decision to invest in Netflix is fantastic, and we applaud them.
To further enhance connections between the two countries, President Yoon will meet with Vice President Joe Biden of the United States tomorrow.
New York-based entertainment journalist and K-content expert Regina Kim called Netflix’s intention to increase investment in the Korean market a “wise decision,” considering the company’s history of exporting South Korean productions to international audiences.
Netflix Faces Controversy Over “Usage Fee” Debate in South Korea.
In a statement, Netflix said, “Netflix has played a huge role in disseminating K-culture and K-content around the world.”
Areum Jeong, a film expert and visiting scholar at Robert Morris University, said that with this renewed dedication, people worldwide “will continue to witness Netflix’s Korean contents change the landscape of global screen culture.”
Film scholar in Seoul Jason Bechervaise worries that the massive investment may cause local streaming providers to worry about their ability to compete with Netflix’s growing impact in the South Korean market.
Netflix is also at the center of a heated “usage fee” argument in South Korea, where internet service providers are trying to get the streaming giant and other heavy data users to pay more of their fair share of the country’s high bandwidth expenses.