This year, streaming service Netflix announced that it is going hard on Korean content as the popularity of such content is going global on the back of titles such as Kingdom, according to a Netflix executive. Now, the company has revealed its slate of Korean shows with genres spanning crime and sci-fi, alongside romance and drama.
“When it comes to Korean content, Asia is still our biggest market, and our Asian audience really loves watching Korean content, but what Kingdom has shown actually is that depending on the show, there’s a possibility to actually expand the audience base beyond Asia and beyond romance,” Minyoung Kim, vice-president for Korean content in Netflix, told reporters during a March 20 video conference.
Kingdom started airing in 2019 and is a political supernatural period drama about a deceased king coming back to life as a plague spreads which turns people into zombies.
Now in its second season, Ms. Kim said the show is “the best example to explain how we’re contributing into expanding that audience base,” as the show became a hit in Asia and “traveled really well outside of Asia.”
In January, Netflix announced that it had inked deals with South Korean entertainment companies CJ ENM’s Studio Dragon and JTBC to beef up its Korean slate.
“Our goal has been to build Netflix as a home for best in class Korean content, whether by licensing or originals. And we have a strong belief in the Korean creative community… we’re becoming more and more confident that Korean [content] is very important in helping us grow in Asia,” she said.
In late 2019, Netflix uploaded Crash Landing on You, a romantic drama about a South Korean woman crash-landing into North Korea and into the hands of a North Korean soldier.
The series made it into the top ten lists in the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Ms. Kim noted that Bong Joon-ho’s film Parasite (2019), which won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Picture among other awards, helped in opening up the market for Korean content.
“[Parasite] made the gate wider for a lot of these great stories… outside of Korea and Asia. And [it helped] a lot of our audiences to also lower the barrier that existed… they are more open to experiencing shows that are not in their local language,” she said.
NEW SHOWS COMING
Starting March 28, Netflix will be streaming Rugal, a sci-fi series about a disgraced police officer accused of murdering his wife and then joining a special organization trying to defeat a terrorist organization.
Thriller Extracurricular, which airs starting April 29, follows a group of high school students who turn to a life of crime to pay their tuition and how their actions come back to haunt them.
The King: The Eternal Monarch meanwhile is a romantic-fantasy-drama about relationships of people in two parallel universes. It airs in April (no specific date).
In June, Netflix will release It’s Okay Not to be Okay, a romantic drama about two people who fall in love as they heal each other’s emotional and psychological wounds.
Currently, the newest shows to hit Netflix are Itaewon Class, Hi, Bye Mama!, Hyena, Hospital Playlist, Kingdom Season 2, and My Holo Love.
Netflix also announced three more titles currently in production: a travel reality show Twogether about two celebrities going on a trip to various cities in Southeast Asia to meet their fans and become friends; The School Nurse Files, a paranormal series about a school nurse who has supernatural abilities; and another paranormal series, Sweet Home, about a boy moving into a haunted apartment complex after the death of his family. — Zsarlene B. Chua