Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos announced a $2.5 billion investment in South Korean programming over the next four years after meeting with President Yoon Suk Yeol in Washington.
South Korea has established itself as a global cultural powerhouse in recent years, due in part to the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” and the blockbuster Netflix comedy “Squid Game.”
“Netflix is delighted to confirm that we will invest USD 2.5 billion in Korea including the creation of Korean series, films, and unscripted shows over the next four years,” Sarandos said in a statement given to AFP on Tuesday.
“This investment plan is twice the total amount Netflix has invested in the Korean market since we started our service in Korea in 2016.”
Sarandos said that Netflix had “great confidence” that South Korea’s creative industry would continue to tell great stories, pointing to the recent success of global hits such as “The Glory” and the reality show “Physical 100”.
“It’s incredible that the love for Korean shows has led to a broader interest in Korea, thanks to the compelling stories created by Korean creators.” “Their stories have become central to the global cultural zeitgeist,” he continued.
South Korean entertainment has taken the world by storm in recent years, with over 60 percent of Netflix subscribers watching a programme from the East Asian country in 2022, according to company data.
Netflix, which spent more than 1 trillion won ($750 million) generating Korean content between 2015 and 2021, has stated that it will increase its South Korean show output without providing financial figures.
According to a transcript supplied with AFP by the president’s office, Yoon, who is on a six-day state visit, praised his “very meaningful” conversation with Sarandos.
The president said the new investment “will be a great opportunity for the Korean content industry, creators, and Netflix. We sincerely welcome Netflix’s exceptional investment decision.” Yoon will meet US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Many of Netflix’s biggest global hits in recent years have come from South Korea, so the business is making a “wise decision” to double down financially, according to Regina Kim, a New York City-based entertainment writer and K-content expert.
“Netflix has played a huge role in disseminating K-culture and K-content around the world.”
According to Areum Jeong, a film expert and visiting professor at Robert Morris University, the company’s latest investment implies that audiences around the world “will continue to witness Netflix’s Korean contents change the landscape of global screen culture.”
However, the move may raise concerns about “how big Netflix is becoming in Korea as local streamers struggle to keep up,” according to Jason Bechervaise, a film historian based in Seoul.
Netflix is also one of the corporations involved in South Korea’s “usage fee” dispute.
The country’s internet businesses are attempting to get significant data users, such as Netflix, to pay more for bandwidth, something Netflix has publicly opposed.