Malaysians’ love for Korean content regardless of genre is inspiring, says Netflix

Melanie Chalil
·3-min read
Netflix revealed it has invested more than US$700 million to grow its Korean content. ― Picture courtesy of Netflix
Netflix revealed it has invested more than US$700 million to grow its Korean content. ― Picture courtesy of Netflix

PETALING JAYA, Feb 26 ― Netflix subscribers in Malaysia only need to look at the streaming giant’s Top 10 bar to understand the popularity of Korean shows.

Much like the country’s diverse fabric, audiences here enjoy a variety of content instead of flocking to just one format or genre.

Netflix content vice president for Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand Minyoung Kim says the popular streaming platform was lucky that Korean content was part of that diversity.

“[It] plays a great role and gives a lot of joy to our Malaysian members,” Kim said during a Zoom interview.

“If you look at the Top 10, our Malaysian audience has been great fans of a lot of our Korean shows regardless of genre.”

She cited shows such as the apocalyptic horror series Sweet Home, the zombie period piece Kingdom and emotionally intense offerings in its catalogue like Crash Landing on You and Itaewon Class.

“It is actually fascinating to see how our audiences around Asia and in Malaysia watch such diverse content and Korea being a big part of that has been pretty inspiring for a lot of us working in Korea as well,” she said.

Malay Mail spoke to Kim after the platform’s See What's Next Korea 2021 virtual event where Netflix executives announced the various offerings that subscribers can look forward to this year.

Netflix which is currently subscribed by 200 million households worldwide has made more than 200 Asian originals, including 80 in Korea, since 2016.

This year marks the platform’s fifth year since expanding its services across the globe, including Korea.

“Great content can come from anywhere at any time and be loved everywhere and everyone ― this is the very reason why we decided to create Korean content that can resonate with a global audience with our local creators,” Kim said at the virtual event.

“When Netflix first set foot in Korea in 2016, one of the phrases we heard was ‘storm in a teacup’ and I remember feeling rather lost and daunted when we had to start from scratch and were just taking our first steps.”

Kim said Korean content often makes it to Netflix’s ‘Top 10 in Malaysia Today’ list. ― Picture courtesy of Netflix
Kim said Korean content often makes it to Netflix’s ‘Top 10 in Malaysia Today’ list. ― Picture courtesy of Netflix

She added the platform wouldn’t be able to achieve its vision of creating quality content without Korean directors, writers, actors and crew members who believed in Netflix’s enthusiasm.

By the end of 2020, Netflix had 3.8 million paid memberships in Korea.

“And before Netflix landed in Korea, the quality of Korean content was already highly renowned and I believe our role is to help Korean content creators enjoy greater creative freedom,” she said.

During the event, Netflix announced it invested more than US$700 million (RM2.8 billion) to grow its Korean content.

The platform’s co-chief executive officer Ted Saranos revealed in his opening message that Netflix recently signed a deal for two studios so it can continue to push out content from South Korea to satiate audiences’ growing appetite for K-entertainment.

“Over the last two years, we’ve seen the world falling in love with incredible Korean content made in Korea and watched by the world on Netflix,” Sarandos said.

For example, its recent hit Sweet Home raked in 22 million views around the world and the Korean creative community also found success in their take of the zombie genre in Kingdom and Alive as well as Extracurricular for its bold exploration of juvenile crime.

“Our commitment towards Korea is strong,” Sarandos said.

“We will continue to invest and collaborate with Korean storytellers across a wealth of genres and formats.”

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