Netflix rides high on Korean content, Disney+ almost here
Netflix pulled in a record amount from Korean subscribers in August, thanks to the strong performance of original show "D.P." and anticipation for "Squid Game."
According to local app tracker WiseApp, Netflix subscribers paid 75.3 billion won ($64 million) last month on debit and credit cards, a 78 percent increase on year and an 8.8 percent increase on month.
The number of subscribers in August was 5.14 million, a 63 percent increase on year. The demographic was evenly distributed, with 26.9 percent of subscribers in their 20s, 29 percent in their 30s, 24.3 percent in their 40s and 19.8 percent in their 50s or higher.
Netflix saw a decrease in revenues in the second quarter of this year due to a dearth of popular original content.
From last August to March, monthly subscription revenues increased every month. But in April they fell 3.6 percent compared to the previous month to 71.5 billion won. The numbers slightly recovered to 71.6 billion won in May and 71.9 billion won in June, but fell again by 3.8 percent to 69.2 billion won in July.
The recovery and increase in older subscribers came after the recently-released Korean original “D.P.” “D.P.” topped Netflix’s ratings in Korea, Thailand and Vietnam after its release and “Squid Game” ranked No. 1 in the U.S. this month — the first time for a Korean original series. The two dramas both deal with the subjects of survival and the military, which appeal to older audiences.
Netflix has more original Korean content coming up, including sci-fi thriller “The Silent Sea,” and second seasons for the romantic comedy “Love Alarm,” drama “Move to Heaven,” and horror series “Hellbound,” directed by Yeon Sang-ho of the famed zombie flick “Train to Busan” (2016).
But Netflix faces competition at the end of the year as Disney+ prepares to launch in Korea on Nov. 12.
Walt Disney said Tuesday it will host Disney+ Day on Nov. 12, a “global celebration” of Disney+’s second anniversary and its launch in eight markets including Korea. It will roll out new content such as films and animations from the different franchises owned by Walt Disney, such as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star.
New films and dramas coming up include Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings,” Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” a Disney+ original “Home Sweet Home Alone” and a new short from “The Simpsons.”
“The inaugural Disney+ Day will be a grand-scale celebration of our subscribers across the entire company,” said Bob Chapek, CEO of Walt Disney. “This day of appreciation brings to life our mission to entertain, inform, and inspire fans and families around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, and will become an annual tentpole event to be amplified across our global businesses."
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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