WASHINGTON – Netflix said Monday it will invest USD2.5 billion in South Korea over the next four years to produce Korean TV series, movies and scripted shows.
The United States streaming service announced the plan following a meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos after Yoon arrived in Washington for a state visit.
“We were able to make this decision because of our great confidence in the Korean content industry, and we’ll continue to make great stories,” Sarandos said following the meeting at Blair House.
“I have no doubt that our investment will strengthen our long-term partnership with Korea and Korea’s creative ecosystem,” he said.
Sarandos said the sum is twice the amount Netflix has invested in South Korea since it started there in 2016.
Citing Korean hits, such as “Squid Game,” “The Glory” and “Physical 100,” he also said stories produced by Korean creators are “now at the heart of the global cultural zeitgeist.”
Yoon welcomed the investment, saying he expects it to be a “large opportunity” for the South Korean content business, creators and Netflix.
South Korea’s culture ministry said in a release that the investment is the largest ever to be made in the country’s content industry and will help create 68,000 jobs.
The ministry also said it will help strengthen the capabilities of domestic production companies and increase their chances of advancing to the global market.
A presidential official later told reporters in Washington the investment decision was three months in the making.
The presidential office proposed the investment first, and Netflix carried out internal deliberations before ultimately deciding on USD2.5 billion, the official said.
Yoon and Sarandos “exchanged letters in the process, and the president and the first lady had some level of interaction with Netflix’s top management in advance,” the official said.
When asked how first lady Kim Keon Hee was involved, the official said he first reported developments to the president and also reported to the first lady, who had “quite a large interest in the content industry.”
Kim was present during the Blair House event earlier in the day. (Yonhap)