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OTT platforms

Wavve to pump $885 mn into original content amid fierce OTT competition

Mar 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Wavve to pump 5 mn into original content amid fierce OTT competition

South Korea's over-the-top (OTT) service Wavve will invest a total of 1 trillion won ($885 million) to produce original content by 2025 to gain more solid footing in the rapidly growing OTT market, according to the service operator Content Wavve Corp. on Mar. 26.

In addition to investing in original content, Wavve will also set up a production studio to oversee content planning and creation in the first half of this year.

On Thursday, SK Telecom Co., the country's largest mobile carrier and Wavve's biggest shareholder, held a board meeting to approve of an additional 100 billion won rights offering for the OTT platform's expansion plans.

Launched in 2019, Wavve was jointly created by SK Telecom and three domestic broadcasting networks. Since its inception, the OTT platform has invested 70 billion won to produce original content, such as the sci-fi drama series Alice, SF8, and a comedy series, Zombie Detective.

The company plans to inject over 80 billion won this year to further boost original series investment.

Wavve produced the sci-fi drama series Alice
Wavve produced the sci-fi drama series Alice

"We may fall behind global OTT players in terms of size, but we are aiming to elevate Korean media platforms' competitiveness through aggressive investment," said a Wavve official.

Wavve is hoping to position itself as a promising global OTT service by beefing up its content library with original content. The company also plans to hire a chief content officer to shore up its expertise.

Wavve is not the only OTT service rushing to secure original content. Other OTT players are also stepping up their efforts to provide content that can't be seen elsewhere to attract viewers.

For example, global streaming giant Netflix has become the leading OTT platform in Korea thanks to its original content offerings, such as Kingdom and Sweet Home, which have enjoyed international success. This year, Netflix plans to invest 550 billion won in producing Korean original content.

Even domestic telecom giant KT Corp. plans to spend billions of won over the next three years to create around 100 original series titles. During a media roundtable earlier this week, KT Chief Executive Koo Hyun-mo stressed that “content is pivotal to promote KT’s media platform.”

Another homegrown media giant CJ ENM also plans to reveal a lineup of original content this year via its OTT service, TVing. To this end, the company plans to invest around 400 billion won over the next three years.

Meanwhile, US-based streaming service Disney Plus is set to roll out Korean original content aligned with its launch in Korea this year. Earlier this week, Luke Kang, the president of Disney Asia-Pacific, was cited as saying that Korean content is essential to run an OTT service in Korea.

Write to Seung-woo Lee at leeswoo@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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