Report: Netflix South Korea Tops 1.8 Million Subscribers After Slow Start

Netflix has reportedly generated more than 1.8 million subscribers in South Korea – three years after launching service in the Asian country.

The sub count from the end of June 30 is up 192% from about 630,000 subs in the previous-year period, according to research company WiseApp.

The report contends 38% of Netflix’s South Korean subs are in their 20’s, with another 31% in their 30’s. Just 15% of subs are over 40 years of age.

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The tally underscores ongoing challenges for the world’s No. 1 subscription streaming video service in a region dubbed the “most-connected country on Earth.”

About 90% of South Koreans have access to high-speed Internet service – the vast majority younger consumers. They also have access to myriad streaming video services.

The largest competitor – ad-supported Rakuten Viki – reportedly has more than 40 million active users monthly. A subscription plan costs slightly more than $4, which is less than half the cost of a Netflix subscription.

Upstart iFlix.com has more than 19 million monthly active users (not subscribers) across 22 markets (13 of which are in Asia) paying upwards of $3 monthly for a subscription.

To entice South Korean viewers, Netflix has upped local original content production, including spending heavily on episodic dramas “Mister Sunshine,” “Kingdom” and “Arthdal Chronicles,” among others.

The service made headlines in 2017 with original movie, Okja from director Bong Joon-ho, which Netflix entered in the Cannes Film Festival.

“For most people, they learned about Netflix for the first time when Okja was coming out in Korea,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, said on a fiscal call at the time. “It helped attract new subscribers, but it also brings a brand halo to Netflix that it’s great content worth paying for.”

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