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Netflix commits to Korean originals

Scripted-logo-460_2netflixNetflix has said it will make original programming out of South Korea.

Visiting the country for the first time in his capacity as Netflix cofounder and CEO, Reed Hastings told local press that the Korean market is well-suited to Netflix.

“Korea is an optimal market for Netflix as the nation has a high level of consumption, a high-speed internet and a well-established mobile infrastructure,” Hastings said at a Seoul press conference. “Netflix will produce various original content with Korean creative partners.”

The streaming service has been ramping up the level of original programming it makes from outside of its domestic US base, but has yet to make an original out of South Korea, having launched in the country at the start of the year.

South Korea has a well-established production and distribution scene, with its dramas popular in China, Japan and throughout the region. Its formats market is less developed but growing with the likes of Grandpas Over Flowers getting remade in the US.

Season two of Netflix sci-fi drama Sense 8 will have a Korean actress and be filmed in part in Seoul. It has also invested in Okja, a Korean feature film from Bong Joon-ho.

Hastings did not disclose any details of when the first full Netflix TV series will come out of the country or what it might be.

Acknowledging the lack of distribution in China was an issue given Korean content creators are used to seeing their efforts travel there, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said the company is still “looking at China”.

“China is part of a very important business model for K-drama, sometimes realising even more revenues than in Korea,” Sarandos told journalists. “We continue to look at China as an opportunity, but it’s a very complicated one.”