April 16, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: The Hallyu march continues this week, as a major Korean content streaming service continues its global rollout.

K-entertainment subscription streamer Kocowa+ has launched in Europe and Oceania, offering 30,000 hours — what Kocowa claims is the “largest Korean content library outside of Korea” — and with English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese subtitles. In total, it will launch in 39 territories.

One notable facet of the service is that all new programs are made available within eight hours of their broadcast in Korea, all fully equipped with subtitles. A curated KocoCraves feature will comprise a mix of live viewing parties and selected content that encourages fan engagement and access to easy-access fan favorite content.

Kocowa is a joint venture company formed by Korean broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS, SK Square Americas and Content Wavve. The service launched in 2017 and is already in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

The content mix includes K-dramas, K-pop films and performances, celebrity-led reality shows and variety shows.

Newly launched dramas include Queen of Divorce, about a top divorce mediator who offers a ‘vengeful solution’ against the maddening spouse of a client, romantic daily drama Su Ji and U Ri, historical wartime romance series My Dearest, season two of Escape of the Seven and the Park Seo-jun starrer Fight For My Way, which follows four friends pursuing their dreams.

Library dramas include coming-of-age college drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim-Book Joo; Coffee Prince, about a poor girl disguised as a woman who falls in love with the owner of a cafe that hires men only; high school drama Extraordinary You and High Kick!, which is billed as “Modern Family with a Korean twist.”

On the unscripted front are shows such as Weekly Idol, Home Alone, The Manager and How Do You Play, featuring comedian Yoo Jae-suk. Exclusive content includes Alumni Lovers, in which former classmates reunite with old crushes, and subs in the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain will have access to variety show Running Man.

K-pop shows will also be well represented with the likes of Idol Star Athletics Championships, girl group travel series NewJeans Travel Code in Busan and BTS Chronicles. Travel series featuring K-pop groups has become big business and further shows from the genre include Aespa’s Sync Road, EXO Travel the World on a Ladder and NCT Life, which offers seasons set in Osaka, Chuncheon and Honcheon, along with DREAM in Wonderland, in which NCT DREAM members escape the city life and enjoy vacations in small towns.

Kocowa+ will also offer live streams of concerts and music chart shows, including year-end productions such as KBS Song Festival, SBS Entertainment Awards and MBC Music Festival.

Kocowa+ is priced at at €6.99 ($6.99) per month for basic access, with premium plans offering up to four logins at €7.99 ($7.99). A 30% discount on new subscriptions is being offered for the first year.

“As the home of the largest Korean Content library outside of Korea, we are honored to bring the first 100% Korean streaming platform to Europe and Oceania,” said KunHee Park, CEO and CPO, Crossfunctional of KOCOWA+.

“As we introduce our unique brand to new subscribers, we are excited about our ability to understand what the audience wants so that we can create customized experiences for them based on their preferences to enable them to discover, connect and enjoy everything our platform has to offer.”

The launch comes on the back of a Media Partners Asia report that suggested Korean content accounted for 50% of SVO viewership and 42% of free streaming viewing across Asia in the first half of 2023, and amidst growing popularity of K-content around the world. Parrot Analytics also recently reported that K-content demand had doubled since 2018 and is currently at an all-time high.

Europe, in particular, has adopted the Hallyu (K-content) wave. The continent was recently named as the genre’s fast-growing market, with 13.2 million identifying themselves as fans, according to the 2023 Overseas Global Hallyu Survey.

The movement is also growing in the U.S., as Deadline’s reporting has highlighted. We recently revealed that LA producer-distributor The Gurin Company, UTA and Titan Content, the U.S.-based K-pop company launched by former SM Entertainment CEO Nikki Semin Han, teamed to created K-Pop Dreams (working title), a K-pop talent search set in the U.S.

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