Disney is pursuing Netflix in Asia. The owner of Disney+ announced a substantial expansion into Asian content on Thursday, with plans to greenlight more than 50 original films from the region by 2023.
Disney is creating new shows in South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Many of the programs, from Bahasa Indonesia to Mandarin, will be available in their native languages. The decision comes as fans across the world discuss “Squid Game,” a South Korean Netflix (NFLX) blockbuster which has become the company’s top show internationally.
The streaming king revealed exclusively to CNN Business this week that it had been seen by 111 million accounts since its September debut, making it the company’s “biggest-ever” series premiere.
Netflix has been investing heavily in original Asian language programming, and the streaming giant has boasted about the global popularity of its Korean and Japanese shows. It has also found success with European programs such as “Lupin,” a French mystery thriller.
In a media conference on Thursday, Jessica Kam-Engle, Disney’s chief of content and development for Asia Pacific, underlined the popularity of Korean entertainment, saying it had “grown into a worldwide phenomenon.”
To pique that interest, the firm released a preview of its own slate of future Korean productions, including “Snowdrop,” a romantic drama series featuring Jisoo, a member of the renowned K-pop band Blackpink.
Disney (DIS) has refused to disclose the cost of its new investment in original programming. The company’s flagship streaming service, Disney+, was only introduced in late 2019, but it has already delighted analysts and investors.
The platform presently has over 116 million members in 61 regions worldwide, including eight in Asia Pacific, including India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Executives are already preparing for more launches, with debuts in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan scheduled early next month.
According to Luke Kang, the company’s president in Asia Pacific, the Hollywood heavyweight would rely on local artists to blast each area. Disney hopes to mix the two by drawing on its historic past and an existing army of talent, which includes Pixar and Marvel creators.