Netflix plans to invest $500m in Korean content this year

Netflix said it plans to invest $500m in Korean-language films and TV series in 2021. The ambitious figure was announced during a press event on February 25 to introduce the global streamer’s upcoming Korean slate. 

“The K-Wave, or Hallyu as we call it here in Korea, is a huge moment of national pride and we’re proud to be part of it,” said Minyoung Kim, Netflix vice president of content for Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia & New Zealand. “Today we live in a world where Parasite is an Academy Award Best Picture winner, BlackPink plays Coachella, and over 22m households tune into a horror TV series, Sweet Home. Audiences around the world are falling in love with Korean stories, artists, and culture.  

“That’s why we’re investing nearly $500m in Korea in 2021 to add more variety and diversity to our growing slate, and to entertain and delight the over 3.8 million Korean households that subscribe to Netflix.” 

Among the films introduced in the press conference were sci-fi drama Space Sweepers (pictured), which Netflix acquired last year, along with original productions Moral Sense, a BDSM romance directed by Park Hyun-jin, and action film Carter, directed by Jung Byung-gil (The Villainess). 

New series included Hellbound, directed by Yeon Sang-ho (Train To Busan), about a lawyer who takes on a religious cult; space drama The Silent Sea, starring Bae Doona, Gong Yoo and Lee Joon; and Squid Game, starring Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo. The new slate also includes reality series Baik’s Spirit and Netflix’s first Korean sitcom, So Not Worth It.

Since Netflix’s first Korean original, Kim Eun-Hee’s zombie thriller Kingdom, the streamer has launched 80 original Korean films and series, with hits also including YA drama Extracurricular and romance Crash Landing On You

Netflix also recently announced that it has signed leases for a total of nine stages across two new production facilities in South Korea, situated in Gyeonggi Province in Paju-si and Yeoncheon-gun, outside Seoul.