Netflix to Release 25 Korean Originals in 2022
Following the smash success of ‘Squid Game,’ the company is expected to easily surpass the half a billion dollars it spent on Korean content in 2021.
Buoyed by the smash success of Squid Game, Hellhound and half a dozen other shows, Netflix is predictably doubling down on Korean content in 2022. The streamer said Wednesday that it will release 25 Korean films and series this year, its largest annual slate from the country to date.
In 2021, Netflix invested over half a billion dollars in Korean content, and this year’s slate will easily surpass that spending figure, although the company has not released a precise estimate.
The company did share a rash of numbers to explain its extreme bullishness on K-content. Netflix said global viewing hours for its Korean shows — it produced and released a total of 15 Korean originals last year — grew six-fold compared to 2019. Squid Game, of course, became Netflix’s most-watched series ever, with 95 percent of its viewership coming from outside Korea. Crucially for the streamer’s strategy, the company noted that “many of these viewers went on to explore other Korean content.”
Hits that followed Squid Game‘s lead included the dark fantasy series Hellbound, which ranked number one on Netflix’s Top 10 in 34 countries. Sci-fi mystery The Silent Sea also made it to the number one spot on the weekly Top 10 lists for non-English content.
“We are excited to continue collaborating with Korean storytellers to bring the K-wave to new heights,” said Don Kang, Netflix’s vp of content for Korea.
Some of the highlights of Netflix’s coming Korean slate include All of Us Are Dead, in which zombies invade a high school; Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, an adaptation of the hit Spanish genre series; and action film Seoul Vibe, about the adventures of a special-ops team set against the backdrop of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
Netflix has carved out a commanding lead as the go-to global platform for Korean content fans — the service has launched more than 130 Korean titles to date — but competition from international rivals is ramping up. Disney+ unveiled a slate of seven Korean originals when it went live in South Korea and other Asian territories last fall, and Warner Media’s HBO Max will undoubtedly invest heavily in the category when it eventually launches in East Asia sometime this year.
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