Can Disney+ and TVing match the success of Netflix in Korea?

Comedian Yoo Jae-suk in a promotional video for Disney+ Day.  (Walt Disney Co. Korea)

Comedian Yoo Jae-suk in a promotional video for Disney+ Day. (Walt Disney Co. Korea)

With plans to launch a star-studded lineup of original content, Disney+ and local streaming platform Tving, among others, are set to begin another round of competition in South Korea’s video streaming and content production markets.

Disney+, the flagship streaming service of American media giant Walt Disney Co., was widely considered a potential rival to Netflix when it launched in November 2021.

It found strong early demand with hit series from Marvel and Disney, but things didn’t quite pan out.

The streaming service offered “Outrun by Running Man,” a spin-off of the popular SBS variety show “Running Man,” as its first original content. But it didn’t live up to the expectations of viewers, many of whom felt that the spin-off wasn’t much different from the original.

Three original series, “Rookie Cops”, “Grid” and “Kiss Sixth Sense”, received less interest than expected. It didn’t help that “Snowdrop” (2021), a highly anticipated JTBC drama available exclusively on Disney+, was criticized for alleged story distortions, leaving an unfavorable impression on local viewers.

Disney+ hopes to turn the tide by showing off new projects.

MBC’s crime thriller “Big Mouth,” which aired on Disney+, topped the top 10 list in six countries: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, according to analytics firm MBC. US-based broadcaster FlixPatrol.

On Thursday, his second unscripted Korean original show “The Zone: Survival Mission” will be released, starring prominent comedian Yoo Jae-suk alongside actors Lee Kwang-soo and Kwon Yuri.

The courtroom series “May It Please the Court,” directed by prominent actor Jung Ryeo-won and veteran actor Jung Jin-young, will premiere on September 21. In October, the broadcaster’s first dating reality show “Pink Lie. ”

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The biggest Korean original project on Disney+, “Casino” stars prominent actor Choi Min-sik, who brings his “Oldboy” fame to the lineup. The series is expected to premiere later this year.

Promotional images of Tving (Tving)

Promotional images of Tving (Tving)

Tving, local entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM’s subscription-based streaming platform, is likely to continue its steady growth.

Following the success of its original contents, “Seoul Check-In”, “House of Lies”, “Yumi’s Cells 2”, and the streamer’s latest hit show, “Earth Arcade”, Tving continues to set new records for the number of TV shows. payment. subscribers and unique visitors.

Veteran filmmaker Lee Joon-ik’s much-anticipated drama series debut “Beyond the Memory,” widely known by its Korean title “Yonder,” will premiere in October. Another notable project, “Food Chronicle,” Tving’s first food documentary series, is expected to bring diversity to the lineup for the second half of the year.

Through a partnership with Paramount+ and an upcoming merger with local video streamer Seezn in December, Tving is expected to overtake No. 1 national streaming platform Wavve in the number of monthly active users. Tving is expected to have more than 5.6 million monthly active users compared to Wavve’s 4.2 million.

While Netflix is ​​expected to retain its top position in the streaming video market with 11 million monthly active users as of June, its original series are slowly losing steam. The service is finding it hard to hit home run after home run like it did with “Squid Game,” “My Name,” “Hellbound” and “The Silent Sea” in 2021.

However, the local streaming platforms Watcha and Coupang Play are even less well known. Apple TV+ has only released one Korean original series, “Dr. Brain” since arriving in South Korea in November 2021. Disney+ and Tving are the streamers that pose a significant threat to Netflix’s dominance of the Korean market.

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By Lee Si-jin ([email protected])

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