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Korean Content Increases Hold on East Asian Audiences Still Further – Report

Aug 10, 2023
  • Source by Variety
  • View1034

K-Wave shows watched by half of streaming subscribers in nine Asia markets.



Image: Netflix 


Korean TV series and films are increasing still further their hold on streaming audiences across East Asia. They accounted for half of viewing time in the first half of the year, according to new third-party research.


Korean-made premium VOD content captured 50% of SVOD viewership and 42% of freemium viewership between January and June 2023, with a record 58 million VOD users tuning in nine East Asian territories (Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam), according to Singapore-based research and consultancy firm Media Partners Asia.


The analysis is based on the measured media consumption activity of 40,000 Asia Pacific consumers, conducted by AMPD, the analysis firm’s sister company.


“The Korean Wave” report evaluates Korean content demand, genres, formats, studios and hits with insights on the impact of K-content in Asia’s VOD industry, key trends in video content investment and the growth of the studio ecosystem. It shows that Korean content commands a large share of its home market and an increasing proportion of other markets, as shows travel across borders.


The findings run counter to those who argued that Squid Game was a one-off phenomenon and that the Korean Wave would not be sustained. The AMPD data shows the number of unique users of Korean content rising steadily both before and after Squid Game. The momentum has been sustained by other shows including Extraordinary Attorney Woo and in recent months by dramas The Glory and Taxi Driver as well as unscripted shows such as Physical 100. Taxi Driver was adapted from a webtoon, another Korean content phenomenon.


“Regular breakout hits from Korea have helped expand the premium VOD audience for K-content,” the report said. “Both [drama] titles benefited from platform exclusivity, star power, local dubbing, and tap into resonant drama elements such as revenge and vengeance plots and in the case of The Glory, a strong female lead.”


Platforms are competing to be in the Korean content business. “Netflix is the major driver of SVOD Korean content demand in the region, while Viu leads significant freemium demand in Southeast Asia. Other notable platforms with Korean content investment and growing reach include Tving and Wavve in Korea, and global services Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video,” the report said.


“While romance and comedy have historically been definitive Korean drama genres, growing investment from VOD platforms seeking to differentiate and elevate their K-offering has allowed for the rise of crime, thriller, sci-fi and fantasy genres and unscripted formats, expanding the audience for Korean content,” MPA head of content insights Dhivya T said.


“We expect Korea to maintain its stronghold as the top-travelling content category online in the region as total online video investment in Korean content is estimated to top US$1.9 billion in 2024. Beyond Korea, strong engagement with Chinese and Thai content in the region is promising, pointing to potential further diversification in impactful Asian entertainment with regional travelability.”


Progress comes at a cost. “Korean content production costs grew as much as 100% for high-end scripted series and 10-15% for lower cost online dramas in 2022,” Divya T told Variety. “Many of Netflix’s hits are part of studio output deals from CJ’s Studio Dragon, JTBC’s SLL, etc. Independent studios such as Astory (Extraordinary Attorney Woo) are increasingly opting to keep IP-rights, often licensing to broadcasters domestically and to Netflix, Disney or Amazon for global distribution.”



By Patrick Frater 


Link: https://variety.com/2023/tv/news/korean-content-increases-hold-on-asian-audiences-report-1235674792/

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