Streaming giant’s investment to boost cultural exports and strengthen South Korea’s global influence in entertainment
Netflix announced plans to invest $2.5 billion in South Korea over the next four years, doubling its investment in the country since 2016. The streaming giant’s commitment aims to produce a range of Korean TV series, movies, and unscripted shows, capitalizing on the global success of the “Korean Wave” or Hallyu.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos met to discuss the deal during Yoon’s six-day state visit to Washington. Yoon hailed the investment as a “major opportunity” for both Netflix and South Korea’s content industry as the nation seeks to expand its cultural exports and influence.
In response to the news, shares of South Korean production and entertainment companies, including Showbox and Studio Dragon, rallied. Meanwhile, the country’s smaller Kosdaq index experienced a 2.21% drop.
South Korea’s entertainment industry has enjoyed a global boom in recent years, driven by K-pop groups such as BTS and Blackpink. In 2021, content exports, including music, video games, and films, reached a record high of $12.4 billion, surpassing the export volume of home appliances and rechargeable batteries.
Sarandos cited the global success of South Korean creators and Netflix hits like “Squid Game,” “The Glory,” and “Physical:100” as reasons for the company’s increased investment. “Squid Game,” released in 2021, remains Netflix’s most-watched series of all time, with 1.65 billion hours of streaming in its first 28 days.
Pop culture critics noted that South Korean content and Netflix enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. “It’s currently a win-win situation. Netflix is maintaining its position in the global market with the help of cost-effective Korean content. At the same time, Korean content has enjoyed elevated global status through Netflix’s platform in recent years,” he said.
Netflix’s announcement follows its lighter-than-expected forecast last week, as the company plans to crack down on unsanctioned password sharing in Q2 while making improvements, delaying some financial benefits. The streaming giant’s massive investment in South Korea signifies its belief in the continued growth and global appeal of Korean entertainment.