LG U+ IPTVs get Netflix tomorrow

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LG U+ IPTVs get Netflix tomorrow

Netflix content will be available on LG U+ internet protocol TVs (IPTV) tomorrow. Under an exclusive IPTV deal inked with LG U+, Netflix content, including Netflix Originals, will be aired through LG’s platform, the carrier said Wednesday.

LG subscribers won’t have to replace their existing set-top boxes as they will be automatically upgraded, though services will be first offered to the 1.07 million users of LG’s latest set-top box, dubbed UHD2, and gradually rolled out to other set-top boxes.

Considering Netflix offers over 22,000 movies and television shows, including its big-name original content like “House of Cards,” “Stranger Things” and “Orange Is the New Black,” this is a good chance for the smallest carrier in Korea to steal some subscribers.

By next month, the carrier will also reform the user interface of its IPTV so users have easier access to Netflix content as well as its own kids’ content platform, dubbed “Kid’s World,” that is gaining popularity among customers in their 30s and 40s with children. LG is banking on both services for the further growth of its IPTV business, according to Song Gu-young, senior vice president and head of home and media business at LG U+.

The revamped interface could look similar to the Netflix app. When a user selects a video, an image related to the video will fill up the whole screen and a preview will run automatically, which is similar to how video previews are played on the Netflix app.

The partnership between LG U+ and Netflix is no surprise as the market has long been expecting the announcement, but what’s still not clear is whether the carrier will offer a phone plan centered on Netflix. Without a useful plan, existing users of Netflix might not feel the urge to migrate to LG just for the IPTV service because it would only mean they get better access to Netflix content on the LG platform, but for the same monthly fee.

LG is reportedly planning to roll out phone plans with a Netflix discount, according to an industry source, but it might take some time as new plans need government approval.

For the time being, LG U+ is giving out free three-month Netflix trials to new subscribers of its IPTV plans worth at least 15,400 won ($13.50) per month until the end of this year.

Korea’s mobile carriers have shifted their focus to the IPTV business as sales from traditional mobile phone subscriptions faltered after the government pressured them to make monthly phone bills cheaper last year.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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