Netflix releases record South Korean lineup to tap Squid Game boom

The slate of more than 25 programmes comes after the success of Squid Game in 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) - Netflix announced its biggest lineup of South Korean shows ever, including a zombie invasion series and an adaptation of popular Spanish crime drama Money Heist, as the streaming service seeks to build on the unprecedented success of dystopian hit Squid Game.

The slate of more than 25 programmes comes after a six-fold increase in global viewing hours of South Korean shows last year, Mr Don Kang, vice-president of Korean content, wrote in a blog post.

Squid Game remains the platform's largest series ever, with 95 per cent of viewership from outside of the Asian country.

Netflix has invested more than US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) in generating Korean-language shows since 2016, as it seeks to expand its subscriber base outside the United States, where user growth has slowed to a crawl.

K-dramas are popular across the Asia Pacific, and the region's 4.3 billion people makes it the world's biggest market to tap.

"Korean shows dominated global popular culture in 2021," Mr Kang wrote in the Jan 18 post.

"As this fan base increasingly includes viewers from all over the world, we are excited to continue collaborating with Korean storytellers to bring the K-wave to new heights."

Netflix launched more than 130 South Korean titles between 2016 and 2021.

In addition to Squid Game, last year also saw the release of fantasy thriller Hellbound, which was among the platform's top 10 shows in 93 countries and ranked number 1 in 34 countries.

This year's line up includes high school zombie invasion show All Of Us Are Dead and Seoul Vibe, a film set against the backdrop of the 1988 Olympic Games.

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