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Will Netflix shake the domestic drama market?

Posted July. 21, 2017 07:22,   

Updated July. 21, 2017 07:36


Okja, the latest film of director Bong Joon-ho released by Netflix, was one of the keywords in the film industry in the first half of this year. Netflix is drawing market attention as it announced a plan to produce two Netflix original K-dramas -- Kingdom and Love Alarm.

The leading Internet television network is in production of Kingdom, an eight-episode series combining historical drama and zombie action-thriller with Kim Seong-hun, director of Tunnel, and Kim Eun-hee, writer of Signal. The total budget for the movie is known to far exceed 10 billion won (8.89 million U.S. dollars). TV production company Astory is trying to enhance the quality of the content by attracting movie producers with the script work. Netflix will also produce Love Alarm, a 12-episode series based on the webtoon by Chon Kye-young Chon, one of Korea’s most popular comic authors, through Hidden Sequence, a newly-formed production company.

The task given to Netflix is increasing subscribers globally beyond the stagnant U.S. market. While a movie is a one-time event, a drama series is helpful not only for sustaining subscribers but also for negotiating sourcing content.

Netflix originals such as “House of Cards,” “Narcos" and “The Crown” attracted many subscribers. As they have good quality, Netflix has been named 93 times as a candidate for Emmy’s announced on July 14 (local time). This is why people are drawn to the first Netflix series in Korea.

The strategy of Netflix is related to the drama production market in Korea. It has been criticized for discouraging new attempts as most of the items in the market are identical like clones. “Zombie movies are a tricky genre to pass a screening or deliberation under the existing platform,” said Astory. “It can be a good opportunity for production companies and writers to test out what they wanted to do.”

Seo-Hyun Lee baltika7@donga.com