Streaming platform Content Wavve has established itself because the main native participant in South Korea by a wise technique of commissioning buzzy originals, programming a different unfold of content material, together with hit Korean internet dramas and comedies in addition to non-scripted exhibits and linear channels, and providing engaging, discounted subscription packages.
Last month, the corporate unveiled plans to spend near $900M (KRW one trillion) by 2025 to additional develop its originals technique, a sizeable funding that it hopes will give it the muscle to compete with its worldwide rivals akin to Netflix and Disney+ by making its personal exhibits and movies. As a part of the plan, it is going to construct its personal content material studio to spice up its potential to supply in home.
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Deadline caught up with Content Wavve CEO Lee Tae-hyun to debate the corporate’s bold objectives. Below, he reveals to us that the service is planning to formally announce its worldwide roll-out this 12 months. He additionally discusses the originals push, confirming that the platform is exploring a second season of its hit anthology sequence SF8, which has been referred to as the “Korean Black Mirror“.
DEADLINE: I perceive Content Wavve is now the main native OTT service supplier in South Korea – how did you obtain that place?
Lee Tae-hyun: Content Wavve was established as a three way partnership between SK Telecom and three terrestrial broadcasters, particularly KBS, MBC, and SBS. Wavve has turn into a number one OTT service in Korea based mostly on considerable media content material secured from the broadcasters together with engaging promotional advantages supplied to SKT’s subscribers which quantity to just about 50% of the Korean cellular market.
Wavve’s principal belongings are non-scripted contents and blockbuster TV sequence created by terrestrial networks. Besides, we provide 120 stay channels and greater than 230,000 VOD TV exhibits and films. Popular TV dramas and selection exhibits can be found to customers by the “Quick VOD” service, which permits customers to observe a stay episode in VOD.
DEADLINE: Can you inform us about your foremost rivals in Korea – is it the worldwide gamers, or are there different robust native streaming companies?
Lee Tae-hyun: With the video streaming market rising quick in Korea, world gamers are actively increasing to the Korean market. Netflix at the moment has the most important market share in Korea, whereas Disney+ can also be making ready its first step to advance within the Korean market. Facing a fierce competitors available in the market, we have now already secured aggressive media content material that may appeal to Korean audiences by a powerful partnership with the highest broadcasters and cable channel suppliers, and we’re increasing our funding in unique content material. We are at the moment specializing in securing new subscribers and world growth based mostly on our highly effective content material.
DEADLINE: Your dedication to spend 1 trillion KRW on content material by 2025 sounds spectacular, are you able to inform us extra about that plan?
Lee Tae-hyun: It can be troublesome to reveal detailed funding plans right now. At the start of this 12 months, we have been contemplating investments centered round TV drama sequence however now we’re actively contemplating investments in tentpole unique sequence and films. Since the circumstances of the OTT market and the calls for of OTT customers are altering very dynamically, it won’t be a clever selection to stay to a long-term plan on this subject.
DEADLINE: Until now, how necessary has producing ‘originals’ been in your technique?
Lee Tae-hyun: We consider the important thing competitiveness of OTT service is providing well-made content material completely to customers. Wavve unveiled its first unique drama The Tale of Nokdo (the Joseon Dynasty romantic-comedy) in 2019. Produced and launched in collaboration with the general public broadcaster KBS, it was not solely watched by many Korean viewers but additionally watched by viewers across the globe because it was bought to world broadcasters and OTT companies.
Wavve launched 16 titles of unique dramas akin to Alice, SF8 and Zombie Detective and we just lately launched a brand new title, Taxi Driver. Wavve additionally plans to launch one other unique present, Go to the Blue House, a political comedy drama, which is produced by Wavve, within the second half of this 12 months. Moreover, additional tentpole dramas can be launched on the finish of the 12 months.
DEADLINE: What sort of content material has been most profitable in your platform up to now?
Lee Tae-hyun: Wavve presents a bundle of TV sequence and unique selection exhibits. In specific, SF8 is without doubt one of the unique titles which suggests rather a lot to Wavve. It is the results of a collaboration between the movie and broadcasting trade throughout final 12 months’s COVID-19 pandemic state of affairs. SF8 is an omnibus TV film, a sequence of eight sci-fi movies made by eight outstanding Korean administrators. Each episode covers numerous themes for the close to future, for instance: AI, AR, VR, robots, supernatural energy, and pure catastrophe. More than 300,000 viewers have watched the sequence with in two weeks after the discharge. Exceptional leads to the native market additionally led to invites from the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and the New York Asian Film Festival. We are contemplating an funding plan to current the second season and the spinoff sequence subsequent 12 months.
DEADLINE: What different forms of content material has been most profitable in your platform? Do you characteristic worldwide programming and in that case, what have been your largest worldwide hits?
Lee Tae-hyun: The TV sequence The Penthouse: War in Life which was launched on the finish of final 12 months has been extremely popular in Korea. It exceeded Wavve’s earlier streaming information visitors document. There can also be Running Man, a spread present liked by viewers from many different nations. Since Wavve plans to formally announce plans to enter worldwide markets this 12 months, we count on to serve world viewers with robust media content material line-ups.
DEADLINE: Content from Korea has additionally travelled efficiently overseas in recent times, together with movies akin to Parasite and a wide range of TV exhibits on platforms akin to Netflix, why do you assume that is? And do you assume it is going to proceed?
Lee Tae-hyun: Korea has considerable tales from the lengthy historical past and custom, conflict and division, democratization and financial development. For a very long time, Korean TV and film productions have actively developed media content material based mostly on these extensive number of distinctive narratives. In current years, Korean webtoons and internet novels have additionally grown to turn into nice sources of media content material.
With the distinctive narratives and tales repeatedly developed, I consider that extra highly effective and engaging Korean content material that may entertain world audiences can be produced. Wavve can also be making ready to construct a content material studio this 12 months to supply extra high-quality content material by leveraging numerous manufacturing belongings from IP holders, manufacturing corporations, broadcasters and movie makers of Korea.
DEADLINE: Can you give us some element on the productions you may have developing this 12 months?
Lee Tae-hyun: Wavve Original Go to the Blue House can be introduced within the second half of this 12 months. We count on this black comedy, satirizing fashionable politics, to supply freshness to viewers. Our most just lately launched title Taxi Driver is a narrative a couple of mysterious taxi firm and its taxi driver who will get revenge for victims handled unfairly. The Youth of May is a human melodrama that tells a narrative about love that blossomed in the course of a historic occasion, the democratic rebellion of May 1980.
Besides the above we are going to current extra TV sequence akin to The Black Sun, You Raise Me Up and a actuality TV present of Ok-pop stars, completely. We are making ready to current tentpole TV sequence by the top of this 12 months. This plan can be specified after the institution of Wavve’s content material studio. They can be introduced when the planning and casting is confirmed.
DEADLINE: Have you seen a rise in subscriber numbers and viewership throughout the pandemic? Can you present some numbers?
Lee Tae-hyun: In the early stage of the pandemic, the variety of Wavve subscribers and the revenues from film gross sales considerably elevated [Wavve is a SVOD service but also provides PPV movies]. Particularly, catastrophe motion pictures associated to contagious illness akin to Contagion have been well-liked. Moreover, individuals’s calls for for stay information channels to amass regional Covid-19-related information has surged. As the pandemic extended, using OTT has been normalized progressively.