KT to invest 500 billion won over 3 years in entertainment
KT will create over 30 new drama series and 300 entertainment shows over the next three years, the company said on Thursday.
The company will invest 500 billion won ($410.4 million) for original production over the next three years so that revenue from its content and media units rises by 30 percent to 5 trillion won by 2025. KT subsidiary KT Studio Genie will take the helm, and the works will be distributed by KT's content channels, including TV and online streaming services, according to the company.
KT announced its plans at a press conference held at the Sofitel Ambassador Hotel in Jamsil, in southern Seoul. Executives from KT and its media subsidiaries took part, including KT Studio Genie and skyTV, cable TV operator.
"KT will fortify its value chain in the content and media sectors by enhancing the content channel that we have now," Kang Kook-hyun, head of the customer business group at KT, said.
KT currently owns a number of distribution channels including: internet TV service provider Olleh TV, online video streaming service Seezn, cable channel skyTV and Storywiz, a webtoon and web novel service. KT Studio Genie, a wholly-owned subsidiary founded in March last year, is at the center of the content business.
The newly-created content lineup will help appeal to a wide range of audiences and grow KT's share, the company said.
KT will release 24 new drama series by next year, starting with "Never Give Up," featuring actors Kwak Do-won and Yoon Du-jun, on May 4.
Four cable channels operated by skyTV will be rebranded under the ENA name, which is short for entertainment DNA. SKY will be called ENA and DramaH will become ENA Drama.
KT has been expanding its portfolio in the media business in recent years. Last year, it acquired a 38.6 percent stake in e-book provider Book Club Millie for 46.4 billion won and purchased digital TV software developer Altimedia for 11.3 billion won.
"We spent 600 billion won last year to strengthen our capabilities in the media unit," Kang said. "This year, we plan to organically connect the content services we have, centering around KT Studio Genie."
The company also cited business with other companies as a growth dynamic, especially CJ ENM.
Last month, CJ ENM invested 100 billion won in KT Studio Genie to develop and distribute original content. CJ ENM owns approximately 10 percent, according to Kang.
When asked if the two companies plan to merge Seezn and CJ ENM's Tving, Kang said that nothing has been decided yet but they are open to "all means to strengthen the competitiveness of the local media landscape."
KT will expand its partnerships with other companies. It will seek to distribute its original content on global online streaming services, like Netflix or Disney+, and co-produce original content with other companies.
"We pride ourselves in being the one and only company in Korea with such a strong content business infrastructure," Kang said. "We will endeavor to grow in the content business and also bring up the value of Korean content in the global market in the long run."
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]