Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos will never forget the day he met with CEO Bong Joon-ho in 2017 to talk about Okaythe sci-fi action drama that became Netflix’s first international film.
“He’s the ultimate master and he gave me a crash course in Korean cinema. I learned so much,” he said. “And then I had the great privilege of introducing him to Martin Scorsese, one of his heroes. A few years later, director Bong won the Oscars for best director and best picture Parasite, the same year Martin Scorsese was nominated. It was great to see him turn from a fan into a pear.”
On his first visit to Korea since being named co-CEO of Netflix, Sarandos touched on Netflix’s collaboration with Korean creators and the success of K-content overseas.
“As much as 60 percent of our members have now watched one Korean title – with K content viewers increasing sixfold over the past four years,” he said. “Take just one genre: romance. 90 percent of K-romance viewing now comes from outside Korea. And last year our Korean film Carter and two TV shows – We’re all dead And The glory – is in the Netflix top 10 in more than 90 countries. Of course nothing beats it Squid game — the greatest TV show in history on any statistic we’ve ever seen.
In April, Netflix revealed it would invest $2.5 billion in Korea over the next four years, including in television series, movies, and unscripted programs. Aside from the production front, the investment includes funding for training programs for aspiring filmmakers and the next generation of creators in front of and behind the camera.
For example, Netflix has partnered with the Korea Radio Promotion Association to help talented local students gain experience in the production industry.
“Between 2022 and 2025, one in five Netflix titles in Korea will come from a new writer or director,” said Tarandos. “Yesterday I met 100 students with director Park Chan-wook – all future screenwriters and directors with so much potential. We need to collectively invest in their talent as an industry.”
Netflix also highlighted the company’s dedicated partnership with local players. Daniel Son, the CEO of local VFX studio Westworld who is responsible for developing special visual effects for hit series such as Sweet Home (2020), The Silent Sea (2021) and We’re all dead (2022), joined as a panelist on Thursday to discuss the company’s growth over the years as a partner to Netflix.
“Our studio started in 2018 with just three people and over the years grew to 190 employees,” said Son. “Our sales revenue has increased 74 times since 2018.”
Scanline, a VFX arm of Netflix, which the streaming giant acquired in 2021, has also come up with a series of training programs to nurture young talents in post-production through workshops and seminars. Founded in 1989, the company participated in the Netflix original series Stranger things and those from Marvel Eternals.
In a session with local creators and partners, the streaming giant also touched on some of the more delicate issues, such as the debate over the company’s profit-sharing structure and whether it’s fair for Netflix to acquire all IP rights to dramas and movies featured here. are being produced. .
“When we make deals, we guarantee that our studios and creators are fairly compensated,” said Sarandos. “It is a competitive market and we are compensating for the top end of the market. In general, we believe it is important that we remain competitive and promote a healthy ecosystem. We provide sufficient support. And in the event of a show’s success, we’ll make sure creators are compensated appropriately in the next season.
Sarandos’ two-day visit was also seen as an attempt to influence the country’s high-level decisions over the company’s dispute with South Korean mobile operator SK Broadband over network usage fees. It was reported that the company’s co-chief met with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and other key officials on Thursday to discuss the expanded partnership between the US and South Korea.
In 2021, a court in Seoul ruled in favor of SK Broadband, claiming that Netflix must pay a refund for Netflix’s heavy data traffic. Netflix has appealed the court’s decision and the lawsuit is currently pending.
Netflix has not released details about the timing of its new password sharing policy, which now prohibits accounts from being shared outside of their household. The company did say the policy is a global initiative that will continue in the coming months and that Korea will eventually also be targeted by the measure.
“Who would have thought that a TV show made in Korea for Koreans would spark a craze for green tracksuits in America or boost sales of Vans sneakers by nearly 8,000 percent when released on Netflix?” Sarandos said. “That’s the power of Korean storytelling.”