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 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.”

Streaming Video Service iFlix Bowing 24-Hour News Hub

Subscription streaming video service iFlix is launching a 24-hour live news hub, aggregated news streams, clips, and linear feeds from international, regional and local news sources.

The service will be available across iflix’s 28 markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, beginning Sept. 3. News partners include CNN, Al Jazeera, DW, CGTN, and CCTV 4, among others.

“Technology has dramatically reshaped the news and media industries over the past decade,” Mark Britt, co-founder and CEO of iFlix, said in a statement. “Audiences today, particularly the rapidly growing youth segments, want immediate access to the stories and events that are shaping the world around them.”

iFlix News also features direct access to local linear channels, including CNN in the Philippines, Bernama News Channel, and KiniTV in Malaysia, Berita Satu and Kompas TV in Indonesia, Thairath TV and Spring News in Thailand and Mizzima TV in Myanmar.

In addition to the linear channel offering, live news segments will also be available in short form format.

“The launch … is a significant step forward in our commitment to provide customers with the broadest and most compelling selection of content available,” said Britt.

iFlix also offers a library of Hollywood, regional, and local TV shows and movies. The platform allows subscribers access on up to five devices concurrently, including phones, laptops, tablets, and televisions.


Emerging Markets Streaming Service Iflix Reaches 15 Million Subscribers

iflix, a streaming and download entertainment service for emerging markets, announced it has reached more than 15 million subscribers and experienced 250% growth since January 2018.

iflix is available to consumers in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Maldives, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Cambodia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Tanzania and Uganda. It offers users unlimited access to thousands of TV shows, movies and other content including comedies, drama, K-drama, Turkish drama, Bollywood, Nollywood, cartoons, movies and live sports from Hollywood, the United Kingdom, Asia, the Middle East and Africa for a monthly fee.

“2018 is already a transformational year for iflix,” said iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt in a statement. “We continue to be passionately obsessed with what emerging markets customers need and want. The huge growth we’ve seen across the business is a testament to that commitment. We have one goal and that is to make iflix ubiquitous across emerging markets. To achieve this, we will continue to learn and innovate to build global culture and find new audiences for extraordinary world class content.

The service is moving away “from the traditional Western SVOD model” to “culturally rich, engaging localized programming and features,” according to an iflix press release.

The service has seen growth in customer engagement, with content consumption doubling in the last five months for an overall 22.84 billion minutes (43,500 years) streamed since launch, according the iflix.

User data shows that local audiences have a strong preference for local content, according to the release. To cater to this demand, iflix has significantly increased its acquisition and commissioning of local content, with the aim of quadrupling its commissioning slate by 2019 with 12 original TV series, 30 feature movies and 75 short form films, the service announced.

iflix is beefing up resources for translation and subtitling, to help make its international content library more accessible to local audiences, the release noted.

In January this year, iflix announced a joint venture with Football Malaysia. The company has also added Bangladesh cricket, Formula E and 2018 World Cup Russia action, as well as music events.

The company has built a live hub with live streaming infrastructure and capabilities, enabling streaming of every World Cup match on its Kwesé-iflix service across Africa.