Now that stay-at-home has become the mainstream in the post-corona era, YouTube and Netflix are indispensable apps. In October last year, Netflix ende a one-month free trial service to attract new subscribers in the United States. Despite the price hikes on some plans, the number of paid subscribers exceeded 200 million at the end of 2020. However, JTBC Newsroom reported that Netflix is charging a high price only in Korea.
It is now known that Korea is offering 4,400 content to Netflix, but the price was rather more expensive. Compared to countries, such as the UK and India, the UK provided 6,359 contents, followed by India with 6,212 and Japan with 5972. The countries can use the average price of 1.47 won per content, while Korea has an average price of 2.1 won per content, which is 0.5 won higher than the countries mentioned above.
What about YouTube, which is similar to Netflix? The price difference between Korea and foreign countries was also large in premium plans that can be viewed without advertisement. In Korea, the plan can be used at a price of 10,000 won per person, which costs a total of 40,000 won for a family of four, since there is no family plan. The cheapest is India with 700 won per person, the UK is charged 6,400 won, and they even have a discount plan for students. Korean service users responded that they are discriminated. There were also people who used the Indian plan by bypassing the Internet signal.
For years, Netflix service users have been talking about Netflix, comparing it with the domestic OTT(over-the-top) media service ‘Watcha Play.’ They usually said ‘NDWG’, which means ‘Netflix doesn’t have, but Watcha gets it.’ With Apple and other global companies neglecting Korean consumers, Netflix Korea has announced that it will release a movie in a week.
In fact, I felt one thing about using Netflix for more than four years: “There’s nothing to watch!” While the original content is small, the amount of content that has been produced is also insufficient. Why are there various contents that are not in Korea but in overseas Netflix? This is also questionable. Is it because Netflix Korea does not work? “In Korea, Netflix seems to be more focused on supplying Korean popular content than its original content, but there is not enough information on the Netflix content library or audience preference for content. Furthermore, there is still a lack of data to grasp the current status of the content,” said Kim Ho-jung, a researcher at the Korea Information Society Development Institute. Netflix Korea will likely need to review the media demand of its service users.
Even in this situation, Netflix is currently viewed as annihilating the domestic OTT market. This year, the Korea Communications Commission will set up the Audiovisual Media Service Act, which includes broadcasting and OTT. It is intended to bring the law to the border, including terrestrial broadcasting, pay broadcasting platform, OTT.
It is pointed out that if the law is implemented, domestic OTT services can be reversed. The law, which the Korea Communications Commission is scheduled to enact, is expected to require the collection of the Korea Communications Development Fund and the strengthening of the service user protection. In the case of Netflix and YouTube, however, it is difficult to actually raise funds because it has servers located overseas. With Netflix undermining the domestic OTT market, Disney’s OTT service Disney Plus will be launching domestic services in the first half of this year. Competition has become fierce as Netflix has been overtaken by the advancement of overseas OTT services.
Recently, Korean movies such as Kingdom and Sweet Home have been popular worldwide, and interest in K-contents is on the rise. However, the K-contents have been rooted in foreign countries, not in Korea. The domestic industry is also greatly affected by overregulation in the wake of global companies. K-contents are important, but the support for OTT activation policy is deemed more urgent.
Park Jun-young (ST Reporter)