April 25 (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) said on Tuesday it will invest $2.5 billion in South Korea over the next four years to produce Korean TV dramas, movies and unscripted shows , doubling its investment in the market since 2016.
The American streaming service made the announcement after a meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Yoon arrived in Washington on Monday for a six-day state visit.
President Yoon hailed the investment as a “major opportunity” for Netflix and South Korea’s content industry, as the latter seeks to boost its cultural exports and influence.
Shares of South Korean production and entertainment companies rallied, with Showbox (086980.KQ) and Studio Dragon (253450.KQ) up 8.75% and 2.26%, respectively, from the 2.21% drop in the country’s smallest Kosdaq index (.KQ11).
Known as the “Korean wave” or Hallyu, South Korea’s entertainment industry has seen a global boom in recent years. Its music market, led by K-pop groups such as BTS and Blackpink, is leading the charge.
In 2021, content exports, including music, video games and movies, reached an all-time high of $12.4 billion, according to government data, eclipsing the export volume of home appliances and Rechargeable batteries.
“We were able to make this decision because we are confident that the Korean creative industry will continue to tell great stories,” Sarandos said in a statement, citing the streaming platform’s global hits produced by South Korean creators such as than “Squid Game”. “Glory” and “Physics: 100”.
“Squid Game,” a 2021 release, remains Netflix’s most-watched series of all time, racking up 1.65 billion streaming hours in the first 28 days.
Pop culture critic Jung Duk-hyun said South Korean content and Netflix have a mutually beneficial relationship.
“It’s currently a win-win situation. Netflix maintains its position in the global market with profitable Korean content.
“At the same time, Korean content has enjoyed high global status through Netflix’s platform in recent years,” he said.
Netflix offered a lighter-than-expected guidance last week as it sought to crack down on unauthorized password sharing in the second quarter to make improvements, delaying some financial benefits.
Reporting by Mrinmay Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel
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