Naver to add CJ ENM's Tving to its Plus MembershipNaver said in an announcement that it will add Tving to its Plus Membership, bringing the service closer to the soup-to-nuts model of Amazon Prime.
The tech company already has a strong relationship with Tving and CJ ENM, which owns 83.3 percent of Tving.
Naver and a number of CJ companies swapped stock last year in a complex deal valued at 600 billion won ($549 million). The transaction left CJ ENM with 0.32 percent of Naver stock, CJ Logistics with 0.64 percent and Kosdaq-listed CJ ENM subsidiary Studio Dragon with 0.32 percent, while Naver was left with 7.85 percent of CJ Logistics, 5 percent of CJ ENM and 6.26 percent of Studio Dragon.
Naver’s subscription service, which was started in May, offers members discounts and access to content. In six months, 2.5 million people signed up.
Naver's initiative is in response to complaints about the lack of digital content and heated competition from cheaper services. Coupang released its Coupang Play streaming service in December and bundled it with its Rocket Wow membership program, which costs 2,900 won a month.
When Naver adds Tving, members will have access to 39 networks and 65,000 shows. Tving charges at least 7,900 won for its subscription, but now for Naver members, the service will be bundled with their membership and they will not be charged anything more than their usual monthly Plus fee.
The company believes that the addition of the service will help it upsell Naver Shopping customers to full Naver memberships.
Tving is also working closely with JTBC Studios, which owns 16.7 percent of Tving that's not owned by CJ ENM. Together, they hope to develop content that will allow the company to better compete with the likes of Netflix.
CJ ENM and JTBC Studios will concentrate their content creation efforts on Tving. Starting with a mystery series in January, Tving will spend more than 400 billion won over the next three years in creating original content that ranges from dramas to variety shows. There will also be short-form content targeting the younger generations.
“Through aggressive investments, we will produce and distribute premium drama and variety show content, while providing customized services,” said Yang Ji-eul, the president of Tving, adding that he hopes the service will have 5 million subscribers by 2023.
According to Nielsen Korean Click, top streaming services in Korea as of August based on membership were Netflix, Wavve and Tving.
BY PARK MIN-JE, KIM KYOUNG-JIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]