Korean streaming platforms TVING and Seezn merge – The Hollywood Reporter

Two of South Korea’s leading domestic streaming services, TVING and Seezn, have revealed plans to merge, forming a single platform better equipped to take on global rivals. like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

South Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM, which holds a controlling stake in TVING, confirmed the merger through a regulatory filing, indicating that its streaming subsidiary will take over Seezn. The deal is just the latest strategic move by CJ ENM to strengthen its position in Korea’s local entertainment ecosystem and grow into a more competitive global company.

The Seoul-based company purchased a controlling position in Hollywood’s Endeavor Content studio late last year for $775 million. A recent partnership with Paramount saw Paramount+ debut on top of TVING in June, as both companies sought greater scale to compete with incumbent streaming giants.

Seezn is controlled by KT Studio Genie, the content production arm of telecom operator KT Corp. Studio Genie said in a filing that the agreement was reached to “enhance over-the-top (OTT) platform competitiveness in the domestic media and content industry and accelerate the growth of K. -Nội dung. “

Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

TVING CEO Yang Ji-eul said in a statement that the company aims to become the world’s leading Korean content platform by using “content production infrastructure and streaming technology”. information of both companies”.

Culture critic Ha Jae-geun said in a statement to local news service Yonhap: “As competition in the market grows fiercer, insiders repeatedly say that domestic companies need to be larger to compete directly with foreign platforms. “TVING seems to be on the move, considering their recent moves to merge with Seezn and partner with Paramount+.”

Estimates of subscribers in South Korea tend to vary, but the most reliable reviews put Netflix in the lead. As of the end of 2021, regional research group Media Partners Asia reports that there are a total of 14.1 million paid video subscribers in South Korea, with Netflix claiming a 33% market share, or 4.7 million; local platform Wave accounted for 19% (2.68 million); and TVING hold 18 percent (2.53 million). Disney+ is also said to be making big strides, along with other smaller local operators and the recently launched Apple TV+ (which has a smaller presence in South Korea than elsewhere, thanks to the unification of the company). local values ​​of Samsung).

TVING’s growing size and assertiveness may be the biggest challenge for Netflix, which has built an international reputation as a destination for Korean bankable content. After the global success of Squid gameNetflix said in January that it will release 25 Korean originals this year alone, easily surpassing the half a billion dollars it spent on Korean content in 2021.

CJ ENM was an integral part of Netflix’s initial traction in the Korean content ecosystem, thanks to the 2019 partnership the streamer signed with CJ’s K-drama production company, Studio Dragon . The deal has brought hit K-drama titles like Crash lands on you and It’s okay, it’s not okay for Netflix’s global subscribers. The partnership will expire this year.

Taking a page from recent Hollywood studio manuals, CJ ENM increasingly intends to expand its own platform and competitive position. In April, the group announced the launch of their third drama production studio, CJ ENM Studios, which specializes in the production of original Korean dramas. Recent CJ acquisitions include purchases of some of the country’s top production banners, including Moho Film, the label founded by Park Chan-wook, winner of the Best Director award at the National Film Festival. Cannes Film Festival 2022; and JK Film, filmmaker JK Youn’s company, known for its domestic blockbusters like 2009 Tidal waves.

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