Netflix to invest $2.5 bln in South Korea for TV series, movies

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Netflix Inc said on Tuesday it plans to invest $2.5 billion in South Korea over the next four years to produce Korean TV series, movies and unscripted shows, doubling the amount the company has invested in the market since 2016.

The US streaming service made the announcement after a meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Yoon arrived in Washington on Monday for a six-day state visit.

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President Yoon welcomed the investment as a “major opportunity” for South Korea’s content industry and Netflix as the country seeks to increase cultural exports and soft power.

Shares of South Korean production and entertainment companies rallied on Tuesday with Showbox and Studio Dragon up 8.75 percent and 2.26 percent, respectively, compared to the country’s smaller Kosdaq index’s 2.21 percent drop.

Known as the “Korean Wave” or Hallyu, South Korea’s entertainment industry has enjoyed a global boom in recent years. Its music market, led by K-pop groups such as BTS and Blackpink, have been leading the charge.

In 2021, exports of content including music, video games and films reached a record high of $12.4 billion, according to the latest government data, leaving behind home appliances and rechargeable batteries in export volume.

“We were able to make this decision because we have great confidence that the Korean creative industry will continue to tell great stories,” Sarandos said in a statement, citing the streaming platform’s global hits produced by South Korean creators such as “Squid Game”, “The Glory” and “Physical:100”.

“Squid Game”, a 2021 release, remains Netflix’s most-watched series of all-time, having racked up 1.65 billion hours of streaming in the first 28 days.

Netflix offered a lighter-than-expected forecast last week, as it looks to crack down on unsanctioned password sharing into the second quarter to make improvements, delaying some financial benefits.

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