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Monthly users on local streaming platforms outpace Netflix, Disney+

Release of hit originals on Coupang Play, Tving contribute to spike in subscribers

April 25, 2024 - 15:44 By Lee Yoon-seo

The combined number of local users on South Korean streaming services surpassed that of foreign platforms such as Netflix and Disney+, a survey showed Thursday, a sign of rapidly changing trends in the streaming service landscape.

According to a survey conducted in March by data and insight aggregator Mobile Index, about 57 percent of some 20.1 million streaming service users in Korea were using domestic platforms such as Coupang Play (23 percent), Tving (21 percent) and Wavve (13 percent). The combined figure was about 14 percent higher than the total number of users on foreign platforms like Netflix (35 percent) and Disney+ (8 percent).

The survey allowed respondents to choose multiple options, and the results showed that respondents were subscribed to an average of 1.8 streaming services.

In contrast, the March 2023 survey showed that 46 percent of users streamed on local platforms like Tving (17 percent), Coupang Play (15 percent) and Wavve (14 percent).

The number had been lower than the number of users on the foreign platforms (55 percent), with Netflix and Disney+ holding 47 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The latest survey highlighted that the number of users on Netflix and Disney+ has continued to fall since then, while those of Tving and Coupang Play rose by 27 percent and 37 percent, respectively, from March 2023 to March 2024.

Several factors are thought to have influenced the influx of users on local streaming services.

For Coupang Play, the number of monthly active users rose from 5.52 million to 7.23 million when its hit original comedy-drama, "Boyhood," was released in November last year. Another big jump was seen when the service started broadcasting the AFC Asian Cup in December last year.

Tving has seen a similar trend.

"During the first quarter of 2024, there was a 50 percent increase in the number of paid subscribers compared to the previous quarter. The reason is attributed to Tving's release of hit originals such as 'EXchange' and exclusive broadcasts of popular drama series such as 'Marry My Husband,'" a Tving official said.

Industry insiders said the rising popularity of local streaming services poses a threat to foreign platforms here.

"When the policy to monetize account sharing was announced, there were critical voices among domestic users, who said they would cancel their Netflix subscriptions," an industry insider said on the condition of anonymity.

"Also, Disney+ has not been able to release hit titles since the release of 'Moving.' To keep users tethered to (streaming) platforms, there is a constant need to release new content every day or every week. Disney+, which intermittently releases big titles with famous actors every now and then, is losing subscribers in this regard," he said.