Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Netflix planning to expand its original Asian offerings

AP, SEOUL

Netflix Inc plans to expand its Asian offerings to subscribers around the world by tapping more creators in the region, including Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho, company bosses said yesterday.

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said that the US streaming service company is looking at many projects throughout Asia, including original series by Asian creators, following its investment in the South Korean filmmaker’s new movie, Okja.

Hastings did not elaborate.

He said that more details would be announced later this year.

Okja represents Netflix’s first investment in a South Korean film project. The latest work by Bong currently being filmed at a remote village in eastern South Korea is scheduled to launch next year on Netflix and in movie theaters.

Local media reported that Netflix invested US$50 million, among the largest in the South Korean movie industry.

In January, Netflix launched its service in 130 more nations as part of its efforts to boost international subscribers. It is available in 190 nations to 81.5 million subscribers, but not in China, the biggest market for South Korean TV series and films.

Netflix is aware that its absence in China might be a letdown to local creators.

“China is part of a very important business model for K-drama, sometimes realizing even more revenues for the K-drama in China than realizing in [South] Korea today,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.

“We continue to look at China as an opportunity, but it’s a very complicated one,” Sarandos added.

While its service in China is yet to be available, it is spending more to deliver South Korean drama series elsewhere in the world.

The company bought rights to distribute The Descendants of the Sun in the US, Canada and Latin America, which is to launch on Netflix this summer.

The company’s global expansion will likely bring more diversity to Hollywood and TV screens in the US.

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