Korean content on Netflix gets US$500M investment
Do you love Korean content as much as I do? The good news is that Netflix is betting on Korean content as the future of entertainment.
This was emphasized by Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in his video message at the See What’s Next Korea 2021 virtual press briefing. In fact, Kim Minyoung, Vice President Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Content at Netflix, shared that Netflix will invest nearly US$500M in Korean content this year. See What’s Next Korea 2021 also revealed that Netflix will now create original Korean movies, starting with “Carter”, which will be directed by Jung Byung Gil (“The Villainess”) and “Moral Sense”, which will be directed by Park Hyun Jin (“Lovers of Six Years” and “Like for Likes”).
Bae Doona and ‘The Silent Sea’
One of the shows I’m really looking forward to is the Netflix Original Series “The Silent Sea”, a sci-fi mystery thriller starring Bae Doona, Gong Yoo, and Lee Joon.
At the press briefing, Doona said that as a Korean actress, it is more fulfilling to be part of Korean content that is brought to the world, rather than being the one foreign actress in a non-Korean film.
Doona, who also starred in the Netflix series “Sense8” and “Kingdom”, echoed the sentiments of the Korean actors, actresses, writers, directors, and producers who joined the press briefing. They expressed their gratitude to Netflix for bringing their K-dramas and Korean movies to life and bringing them to a global audience in more than 190 countries. And they emphasized how proud they are to be part of creating Korean content that the whole world can enjoy.
Angels and zombies
“Kingdom”, of course, made history as the first Korean original series of Netflix when it premiered on Jan. 25, 2019. The first panel discussion at See What’s Next Korea 2021 included “Kingdom” writer Kim Eun Hee, “Extracurricular” producer Yoon Shin-ae, and Netflix’s Minyoung.
They agreed that Netflix brings out the full talent of Korean creators, with Eun Hee saying she didn’t think it would be possible to come out with a series like “Kingdom” in Korea until Netflix made it happen. Three years ago, no one could have imagined that “Kingdom” would become a global sensation.
Eun Hee also appeared on stage again for the panel discussion on “Kingdom: Ashin of the North“, the “Kingdom” spinoff. This special episode is a sidequel from “Kingdom” Season 2. It is also a backstory about the mysterious character that Lee Chang’s group encountered.
Another series I’m looking forward to is “Hellbound”, which will be about supernatural angels who condemn people to Hell. The series stars Yoo Ah In, Park Jung Min, Kim Hyun Joo, and Won Jin Ah.
It is based on the webtoon of the same name created by Yeon Sang Ho, the director of “Train to Busan” and its sequel “Peninsula“, who will also direct the series.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Asia is the revolution
Sarandos himself noted that just three years after Netflix released “Kingdom” as its first Korean original series, its global success has shown the international appeal of Korean content.
This has opened the floodgates to Korean content on the platform. Among the Korean content that Sarandos cited were “Sweet Home”, “Space Sweepers“, and “BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky“. All three have made history for Netflix.
As I’ve said in this column, Asia is the revolution. This is all part of a cultural shift. Asia is not just a consumer of Western pop culture. Asia is creating global pop culture, and this is just the beginning.
I can’t wait to see what comes next.