Netflix was hugely successful last year with shows like Squid Game and Hellbound, and is keen to bring the Korean hit formula to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
It took only four weeks for Squid Game last fall to become the most watched series on Netflix, although the program is not in English. More importantly than the high ratings, viewers who devoured Squid Game started watching more Korean-language shows, such as My Name and The King’s Affection.
The week of November 15, Hellbound, a fantasy thriller, even replaced Squid Game as the most-watched non-English show on Netflix worldwide.
In the past six months, South Korea has delivered more popular Netflix shows than any other country except the United States.
213 million subscribers
Netflix had 213 million subscribers at the end of September and hopes to one day reach 500 million subscribers.
Analyst Michael Morris van Guggenheim tell Bloomberg Asia-Pacific is Netflix’s biggest growth opportunity right now. “If you want to reach hundreds and hundreds of millions of subscribers, a lot has to come from Asia given its size,” Morris said.
Billions spent on Korean content
In 2016, Netflix launched its streaming service in South Korea with high expectations, but the initial phase was difficult. The country’s biggest television studios and networks have been reluctant to license their shows to the unknown foreign streaming service.
Four years later, in 2020, the company made its first profit in South Korea. The country is now one of Netflix’s largest markets in Asia, after Japan. To date, Netflix has spent over $ 1 billion on Korean shows.
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