On September 2, Netflix announced that it had ordered a new Korean original series called Round Six. This series is a survival contest with millions of dollars at stake for its participants. Netflix noted that award-winning director Hwang Dong-hyuk would lead the production of Round Six.
On September 4, Netflix announced a new Korean romance drama, When the Camellia Blooms, which it expects to begin streaming globally on September 18.
NFLX began adding Korean titles three years ago, the company’s head of Korea operations noted in June. Korean content has not only helped Netflix gain more subscribers in South Korea but outside the country as well.
In addition to its original programming, the company believes its competitive prices could attract more subscribers in South Korea. In April, Netflix introduced lower-priced plans for its Korean customers, the Korea Herald reported. The report also stated that in February, NFLX had about 2.4 million subscribers in Korea—an almost fivefold increase from the previous year.
South Korea is one of the largest Asian subscription video markets
The South Korean market presents an attractive revenue opportunity for video streaming providers like Netflix. According to an IHS Markit research report, spending on subscription video services in South Korea totaled $142 million in 2016 and could grow to $433 million in 2021.
South Korea is one of the largest markets for subscription services in Asia. Korean consumers spent an average of $97 per user on subscription video services in 2016, according to IHS Markit. In contrast, Chinese consumers spent an average of $31 per user on subscription video services in 2016. In 2016, Japanese consumers spent an average of $103 each on these services.
Netflix is set to come under more intense competitive pressure in its domestic market in the coming months. Walt Disney (DIS) and Apple plan to launch new video services this fall—Disney+ and Apple Plus. AT&T and Comcast plan to follow suit with their new video services to challenge Netflix next year. With escalating competition at home, Netflix is counting on international markets like South Korea to support its growth.