‘BINGE Korea’ FAST Platform Launches in the U.S.
South Korean media company Next Entertainment World (NEW) subsidiary NEW ID’s launch of ‘BINGE Korea’ signifies a pivotal shift in the consumption of Korean content for American audiences.
As the leading provider of curated non-English and non-Spanish language FAST channels in the U.S., NEW ID is leveraging its experience within FAST to create the first FAST service dedicated to Korean content.
‘BINGE Korea’ is accessible via a wide range of platforms, including Samsung, LG Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, and plans to expand to Roku, iOS, and Android TV. This broad reach enhances its potential for attracting a larger viewership.
NEW ID is leaning into its existing FAST expertise to create the new service. Already the largest FAST operator in Asia, and per Variety Intelligence Platform analysis, the largest provider of curated non-Spanish language international channels in the U.S. with 12, BINGE Korea will launch with an initial 36 channels.
These will be a mix of both curated channels (e.g., “NEW KFOOD”) but also a number of channels based around a single show—known as Single-IP channels in the FAST industry—for shows like “My Unfortunate Boyfriend” and kids shows like “Robocar POLI.” The company has aims for 100 FAST channels to be available within the first year of launch.
It’s a great time to launch a FAST service geared toward Korean content. A recent study by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism estimated that 43% of American streamers watched content made in Korea in 2022, second only to domestic productions.
The booming Korean content market has been a magnet for major investments, with Netflix pledging to spend $2.5 billion over the next four years in South Korea. This significant investment reflects the platform’s confidence in the growing popularity and global appeal of Korean content.
The Korea Creative Content Agency estimated in 2018 that about 18 million Americans were fans of Korean TV, a number that’s surely increased post “Squid Game”.
June Park, CEO of NEW ID, highlighted the shift in K-content consumption patterns, stating, “Over the past four years, we have expanded and operated genre-specific Korean content channels on global FAST platforms, which were previously barren lands for Korean content. ‘BINGE Korea’ encapsulates the increased interest in Korean content onto a single platform, marking a shift from channel-based distribution to platform-based distribution.”
Park added, “We will focus on increasing the brand value and revenue of individual content, targeting both global platform operators and viewers interested in Korean content.”
The U.S. FAST market is estimated to be worth between $4 billion – $6 billion in 2023, representing a great opportunity for anyone able to corner a specific part of the market. With NEW ID already seeing 5.5 million monthly hours of viewing for Korean content in the U.S. and Canada, the launch of BINGE Korea will build upon that and likely inspire other distributors to launch similar services taking advantage of the opportunities that FAST provides.
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