June 5, 2023

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Netflix is ​​investing $2.5 billion in South Korea to produce TV shows and movies

April 25 (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) said on Tuesday it will invest $2.5 billion in South Korea over the next four years to produce unaired Korean TV series, movies and shows, doubling its investment in the market since 2016.

The US streaming service made the announcement following a meeting between South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Yoon arrived in Washington on Monday for a six-day state visit.

President Yoon welcomed the investment as a “big opportunity” for Netflix and the content industry in South Korea as the latter seeks to boost its cultural exports and influence.

South Korean production and entertainment stocks rose, with Showbox (086980.KQ) and Studio Dragon (253450.KQ) down 8.75% and 2.26%, respectively, compared to the country’s smaller Kosdaq (.KQ11) down 2.21%.

South Korea’s entertainment industry, known as the “Korean Wave” or Hallyu, has enjoyed a global boom in recent years. Its music market, led by K-pop groups like BTS and Blackpink, has been leading the charge.

In 2021, exports of content including music, video games and movies reached a record $12.4 billion, according to government data, surpassing the volume of exports of household appliances and rechargeable batteries.

“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 in a statement, citing the streaming platform’s global hits produced by South Korean creators such as “Squid Game,” “Glory” and Material: 100.

“Squid Game,” its 2021 release, remains Netflix’s most-watched series of all time, with 1.65 billion hours of streaming in its first 28 days.

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Pop culture critic Jung Duk-hyun said that South Korean content and Netflix have a mutually beneficial relationship.

“It’s a win-win situation now. Netflix maintains its position in the global market with the help of cost-effective Korean content.

“At the same time, Korean content has enjoyed a high global status through the Netflix platform in recent years,” he said.

Last week, Netflix offered a lighter-than-expected outlook as it sought to crack down on unauthorized password sharing in the second quarter to make improvements, delaying some of the financial benefits.

(Reporting by Marinmay Day in Bengaluru); Edited by Magu Samuel

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