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  Netflix, Pooq, SK Telecom

Local streamers band together to take on Netflix in South Korea

Netflix has grown rapidly in the South Korean market over the past three years prompting two local SVoD players to merge in an attempt to battle the global giant. Oksusu (owned by telco giant SK Telecom) and Pooq (jointly established by the three biggest terrestrial broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS) are combining in Q3 2019 and say they will have over 900,000 paying subscribers by the end of September 2019.

Although it entered the OTT market late in 2016, Netflix grew to over 600,000 subscribers in its first year. By the first quarter of 2019, it had reached over 2.3m subscribers in South Korea, accounting for more than 40% of total market share. Netflix’s rapid expansion in South Korea benefits from its localisation strategy, which includes releasing six original titles so far. Local zombie drama, Kingdom, has been a hit both in South Korea and abroad. Three further titles are currently in production. With the remaining two local SVoD players—TVing and Watcha Play—having a similar market share to Pooq and Oksusu, further consolidation could be on the cards.