Wavve to produce films, TV series with NBC

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Wavve to produce films, TV series with NBC

Local content streaming service Wavve announced Sunday it signed a partnership deal with global media company NBCUniversal Media to produce up to five original productions each year for the next three years.

The agreement, signed April 10, could pave the way for more Korean films and TV series to reach viewers in the United States.

Wavve and three local terrestrial broadcasters will provide content to be streamed on NBCUniversal’s on-demand video streaming service Peacock and its affiliated TV channels. Peacock is expected to launch in the United States as early as this month.

Wavve is a joint venture between SK Telecom and three terrestrial broadcasters. Its partner in the United States is an affiliate of Comcast, an international media and entertainment company. It owns the American TV channel NBC and two Hollywood production companies - Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation - that have produced blockbusters including “Jurassic Park” and “The Fast and the Furious.”

The two plan to co-produce and invest in making content. Wavve plans to invest more than 60 billion won ($49 million) in making original movies and TV series this year. It inked a production deal with local broadcaster MBC for a sci-fi film “SF8,” a collaboration between eight movie directors.

“The deal made Sunday will lay important groundwork that can help Wavve originals attract more investment and advance outside of Korea,“ Wavve’s chief operator, Lee Tae-hyun, said.

This is not the first time NBCUniversal has tried to catch the Korean wave, or Hallyu, and ride the global popularity of Korean culture.

In 2016, the American company partnered with Korean entertainment agency YG entertainment as a production partner for the fantasy period drama “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.” This was NBCUniversal’s first attempt at producing a TV series in Asia.

“The partnership will help the two strengthen each of their content,” said Shoji Toyama, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. “I hope it will spread Korean content all over the globe,”

BY NA WON-JEONG [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]
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