Netflix has announced that it plans to invest $2.5 billion in the creation of Korean series, films, and unscripted shows over the next four years. This amount is double what Netflix has invested in K-dramas since 2016, and it comes as no surprise, given the success of recent Korean productions like Squid Game, The Glory, and Physical: 100. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos stated that the company has great confidence in the Korean creative industry and its ability to continue telling great stories. He also acknowledged that Korean entertainment is now at the heart of the global cultural zeitgeist.
The Changing Face of Korean Entertainment
As a second-generation Korean American, the recent surge of interest in Korean entertainment feels weird and cool but also extremely weird. For years, K-dramas were something that was watched with family on “the Korean channel” on a boxy CRT. However, the recent shift in the cultural zeitgeist has brought Korean entertainment into the mainstream, with K-Pop groups like BTS and Blackpink gaining global popularity and Korean skincare flooding TikTok. This has led to the emergence of terms like “koreaboo.” While the shift is exciting, it is also a reminder of the cultural isolation that many second-generation immigrants often feel.
The Pros and Cons of Netflix’s Investment
Netflix’s investment in Korean entertainment is a good thing, as it will undoubtedly lead to a wider selection of Korean TV shows and films. However, it also means that Netflix will become the arbiter of how the average American sees K-dramas. While Netflix has an impressive selection of Korean content, many classic K-dramas are still missing from the platform. This can be frustrating for fans of Korean entertainment, who may have to go out of their way to find their favorite shows. Additionally, the region locking of content is still an issue, which can make it challenging to access Korean content in certain countries.
In conclusion, Netflix’s plan to invest $2.5 billion in Korean series and films is an exciting development for fans of Korean entertainment. However, it is also a reminder of the changing face of Korean entertainment and the challenges that come with cultural assimilation. Despite these challenges, the investment is a positive step forward that will undoubtedly lead to a wider selection of Korean TV shows and films for audiences around the world.