Netflix to invest $2.5 bn in South Korea to make TV shows, movies

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

President Yoon Suk Yeol 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 (086980.KQ) and Studio Dragon (253450.KQ) up 8.75 percent and 2.26 percent, respectively, compared to the country’s smaller Kosdaq index’s (.KQ11) 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.

The streaming platform’s global hits produced by South Korean creators include titles 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.

For April through June, Netflix forecast $8.242 billion in revenue. From January through March, Netflix added 1.75 million streaming subscribers.

Netflix added nearly 9 million subscribers in 2022, half as many as the 18 million gained in the prior year, with much of that growth coming from Asia, notes research firm MoffettNathanson.