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(News focus) Disney+ is investing heavily in K-content for growth in the OTT market

(News focus) Disney+ is investing heavily in K-content for growth in the OTT market

SINGAPORE, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) — As Korean dramas and movies captivate a wider global audience, entertainment giant Disney now appears poised to ride the Korean Wave to expand its presence in the booming streaming market.

Following streaming leader Netflix’s international success with “Squid Game”, more viewers from around the world are watching Korean series in various genres from zombie horror to thrillers and rom-coms streamed on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

Launched in November 2019, Disney+ has shown rapid growth in the streaming service space with broad libraries of movies and TV shows, including original series and movies from Marvel, Star Wars franchises and animation studios.

To further increase its subscription base, Disney+ unveiled a new series of star-studded Korean dramas and documentaries about K-pop sensation BTS during the annual Disney Content Showcase held in Singapore from Wednesday to Thursday.

Korean content and stars were at the center of this year’s event, which unveiled plans to release over 50 original series in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of 2023, including 12 from South Korea alone.

Luke Kang, President of The Walt Disney Co. Asia Pacific, said the company is focusing on developing more localized content, such as Korean dramas, to better target audiences and bring them to the global market.

“We want to serve our viewers in all markets with global brand content such as Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar, as well as locally produced stories that resonate with them, while taking the best of those stories globally,” Kang said at the event held at the Marina Bay Sands Wednesday.

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Despite the lower production costs than Hollywood projects, Korean dramas have often landed in the top 10 of global streaming charts this year, and some of them, including “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” and “Narco-Saints,” received acclaim from critics and viewers alike .

On Disney+, Korean series “Big Mouth,” “Soundtrack #1” and “In the Soup: Friendcation” were the top three titles in the Asia-Pacific region this year, according to the company.

To build on the popularity of K-dramas, Disney+ said it will step up collaboration with talented creators to develop high-quality content that can reach global audiences.

“Korean culture and content are attracting the attention of people around the world and wielding greater power than ever before,” said Kim So-yeon, CEO of Disney+ Korea, at the event. “Disney plans to continue expanding its Korean content lineup, partnering with domestic creators, to bring excellent storytelling and present it to the world.”

Among the highly anticipated Korean dramas are “Connect,” directed by Japanese filmmaker Miike Takashi and starring Korean actors Jung Hae-in and Ko Kyung-pyo, and “Big Bet,” which will mark the return of veteran actor Choi Min-sik to the small. screen in 26 years.

The webtoon-based series “Moving” starring Ryu Seung-ryong, Zo In-sung and Cha Tae-hyun, and “Call It Love” starring Kim Young-kwang and Lee Sung-kyung, will premiere next year.

Next year will also see two documentaries on BTS, which will chart the monumental success of the K-pop supergroup and tell the stories behind member J-Hope’s solo debut.

According to data from app tracker Mobile Index, Disney+’s monthly active users were 1.79 million in October, far behind dominant leader Netflix’s 11.36 million, Tving’s 4.3 million, Wavve’s 4.16 million and Coupang Play’s 3, 54 million.

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