Netflix to invest $2.5 billion in South Korea content

Platform aims to capitalise on success stories of The Glory, Physical 100 and Squid Game

Song Hye-kyo stars as Moon Dong-eun in The Glory. Photo: Netflix
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Netflix is ramping up its South Korean content with plans to invest $2.5 billion into the industry over the next four years.

The news comes after a meeting between the streaming platform’s chief executive Ted Sarandos and Yoon Suk Yeol in Washington DC, during a six-day state visit by the South Korean President.

"I've just had a very meaningful time with Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and other leaders of the company, and they said Netflix will invest $2.5 billion, or 3.3 trillion won, for K-content," Yoon said during the meeting.

"The investment will become a huge opportunity not only for the content industry and show creators but also for Netflix. I sincerely welcome Netflix's bold investment decision."

Sarandos says the sum is double what Netflix has spent on Korean content since 2016, adding the company has “great confidence” in Korean TV shows and movies, citing recent global hits such as The Glory and Physical 100.

"It is incredible that the love towards Korean shows has led to a wider interest in Korea, thanks to the Korean creators' compelling stories. Their stories are now at the heart of the global cultural zeitgeist," he said.

Over the past few years, South Korea’s entertainment industry has enjoyed a global boom thanks to K-pop acts such as BTS and Blackpink and the success of Oscar-winning film Parasite. Squid Game, which was released in 2021, is still Netflix’s most-watched series.

In January, the platform announced it would be releasing 34 titles this year between new and returning shows, films and unscripted series.

“The global popularity of K-content has continued apace over 2022, with Netflix bringing a wider variety of stories and genres to fans around the world," said Don Kang, vice president of content, Korea.

"Over the last year, Korean series and films have regularly featured in our Global Top 10 list in more than 90 countries, and three of Netflix’s most-watched shows ever are from Korea."

Updated: April 25, 2023, 6:11 AM