Netflix secures new partner to distribute K-dramas worldwide

26, Nov. 2019

SEOUL, AJU - Netflix, the world's top over-the-top video content service provider, joined hands with JTBC, a major cable television system operator in South Korea, to distribute K-dramas worldwide as South Korea's pay-TV market faces a rapid change thanks to the quick commercialization of 5G technologies and competition.

Starting in the first half of next year, JTBC said Monday that it would supply some 20 prime time dramas to Netflix for three years. Dramas will be selected after consultations between the two partners and Netflix will have exclusive distribution rights in global markets except in South Korea.

JTBC is a subscription network and broadcasting company controlled by the JoongAng media group, which used to be a part of South Korea's largest conglomerate, Samsung. Along with CJ ENM, a top entertainment media firm, JTBC is looming as a strong player in South Korea's cable TV drama market with original content.

On November 22, Netflix forged a three-year partnership with CJ ENM and its drama production company, Studio Dragon, to create and distribute original content. Netflix, which has some two million paid subscribers in South Korea, has successfully mesmerized members around the world with Studio Dragon's drama content such as Mr. Sunshine, Memories of Alhambra, Romance is A Bonus Book, and Arthdal Chronicles.

Original contents, including dramas and movies tailored to OTT video-on-demand service users in South Korea, have contributed to a sharp increase in the number of Netflix fans. In September, CJ ENM joined hands with JTBC to launch a new OTT streaming service, based on TVING, an OTT service operated by CJ ENM.

To stop Netflix's dominance in South Korea's thriving OTT market, local service operators including internet protocol TV (IPTV) and OTT operators have teamed up to combine their services to attract young content consumers. SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile carrier, joined forces with three major domestic broadcasters to merge its OTT service Oksusu and POOQ, an OTT service operated by broadcasters, to launch a new OTT platform called Wayvve.