Netflix is placing a hefty bet on South Korea’s thriving K-drama industry, with a commitment of $2.5 billion. Co-CEO Netflix Ted Sarandos aims to support and nurture Korean showrunners and studios responsible for viral hits like Squid Game, signaling its dedication to producing captivating original content.
Ted Sarandos revealed that Netflix plans to allocate funds to training programs aimed at developing the next generation of talented auteurs and entertainers, both on-screen and behind the camera. To accomplish this, the company will collaborate with local organizations to identify and groom young Korean talent.
The success of Korean shows, including The Glory, has been instrumental in Netflix’s growth strategy, setting it apart from competitors such as Disney Plus and Prime Video. Sarandos noted that approximately 60% of Netflix users have watched a Korean show, resulting in a six-fold increase in viewing time for these programs over the past four years. Interestingly, about 90% of viewers for Korean romance-genre content are international, underscoring the global popularity of K-dramas.
During his visit to Seoul, Sarandos engaged in discussions with Korean production partners and government officials, including Prime Minister Han Duk-soo, regarding Netflix’s investment plans. Sarandos emphasized the economic impact of investing in creators and production, stating, “There’s a clear and direct symbiotic relationship between creative companies like ours and internet industries.” He downplayed any conflicts with Korean telecom network providers, highlighting the opportunities for businesses to evolve together.
In addition to the $2.5 billion previously announced in April, Sarandos disclosed that Netflix subsidiary Scanline and Eyeline Studios Korea will invest an additional $100 million in local content over the next six years. These substantial investments solidify Netflix’s commitment to the Korean entertainment industry, catering to the diverse preferences of its global subscriber base.