Netflix doubles down on K-content with $2.5 billion investment in South Korea

Squid Game
“Squid Game” is the most popular non-English TV show on Netflix. (Image Credit: Netflix)

South Korea’s global cultural domination, spanning from music and movies to food, is set to surge as the streaming giant Netflix has announced to invest $2.5 billion in the country’s entertainment industry over the next four years. This includes the creation of Korean series, films, and unscripted shows.

The investment is double the amount that Netflix has announced so far in the fast-growing market since arriving in 2016.

The U.S. streaming service made the announcement following a meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and its co-CEO Ted Sarandos in Washington. Yoon is currently on a state visit to the United States where he also met President Joe Biden.

Yoon, who strongly backs the Korean entertainment industry, welcomed the investments in the content business. South Korea’s culture ministry said the investments “will help strengthen the capabilities of domestic production companies and increase their chances of advancing to the global market.”

Sarandos said that the company has “great confidence that the Korean creative industry will continue to tell great stories.” The stories produced in South Korea are now “at the heart of the global cultural zeitgeist”, Sarandos said, citing the success of shows such as “Squid Game”, “The Glory”, and “Physical: 100”.

Squid Game is the most popular non-English TV show of all time on Netflix as of April 2023. The show revolves around a dystopian competition where 456 players face a series of lethal challenges, with only one winner taking home a cash prize of $38 million. The show is reportedly worth $900 million in impact value for Netflix. 

Rise of K-Content: South Korea’s content industry has become the country’s top export driver, surpassing leading items such as home appliances, secondary batteries, electric vehicles, and display panels. South Korea’s exports of content including music, video games, and movies hit a record high of $12.4 billion in 2021, according to government stats.

This year, Netflix has planned its largest-ever slate of Korean content with 34 new and returning titles from the country in 2022. The audience data from last year indicates that over 60% of Netflix members have watched Korean shows or films. Notably, four of the top 10 most watched non-English TV shows ever on the platform are Korean, including hits like “Squid Game”, “All of Us Are Dead,” “The Glory”, and “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, according to the company.

Related Posts