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New Players To The Streaming War: Korean E-commerce Companies

The South Korean streaming service landscape is facing seismic change as non-media players have officially thrown their hat into the ring.

(Photo source: Yeongnam Daily news)

At a time of surging demand for contact-less consumption under pandemic, the trend toward mobile-based binge-watching of content is on the rise. According to a survey by top wireless carrier SK Telecom, it is reported that six out of 10 aged 15 to 24 Korean watch video contents through streaming on phones and other devices instead of TV; Nearly two thirds or 62.5 percent of Generation Z members(born between 1996 and 2005) and 56.6 percent of millennials responded they use OTT more often than TV.

After Netflix arrival to South Korea in 2016, Wavve, led by terrestrial broadcasters like KBS, and tving, run by entertainment giant CJ E&M, the creator behind Oscar-winning "Parasite," have also made their own streaming platforms. E-commerce and retail firms, like Coupang and Shinsegae Group have actively entered into the highly competitive market.

Shinsegae Group, which runs department stores and duty-free stores, home shopping and shopping malls, have recently established digital content subsidiary ‘Mindmark’ with a goal of utilizing its various media content. Soon, it acquired around 60% of stake in Silkwood, a drama production company founded by Lee Geum-rim who had produced many hit dramas back in the early days. In September, it also acquired a 55.13% stake in Studio 329, the production company behind Netflix's original “Extracurricular” for 4.5 billion won.

With the acquisition of two drama production companies, Shinsegae laid the foundation to produce video content on its own. It is expected to maximize its revenue streams by combining their production arm with their e-commerce strengths.

(Photo Source: Business watch Korea)

In July, Korea's biggest e-commerce company Coupang, South Korea’s Amazon equivalent, acquired Singapore's streaming service operator, Hooq. Market watchers said the Seoul-based office has already started negotiations for exclusive broadcasting rights of global sports including NBA games to prepare its OTT service that can be launched as early as next year. It has also filed for trademarks rights for its streaming service such as "Coupang Wow Play" and "Coupang Streaming.”

(Photo Source: CJ E&M)

Hyundai Department Store’s fashion business subsidiary Handsome plans to release its first web drama called “Hand Made Love” on its own YouTube Channel ‘Put Your Handsome’’ from today(December 11st). The web drama is not intended to expose HandSome brands but to promote the strength of fashion business to young generations, a company official said.