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CJ's Tving emerges as major threat in S. Korean streaming service market

Entertainment 11:34 January 27, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- The fast-growing South Korean video streaming service market has entered a new phase as local over-the-top (OTT) service operator Tving pulled off a sharp increase in its users last year, data showed Wednesday.

Tving gained two notches to finish third in the latest ranking of OTT service providers released by media research firm Nielson Koreanclick with 2.41 million monthly active users last year, up 59 percent, or 890,000, from a year ago.

Its on-year rise is the largest after industry leader Netflix, which posted a 92 percent on-year jump to mark a monthly 6.37 million active users in 2020.

It also narrowed the gap with runner-up Wavve, the OTT service launched by South Korea's terrestrial broadcasters like KBS, with its monthly active users rising 22 percent on-year to 3.44 million last year.

Other streaming services operated by two giant telecommunications firms -- KT's Seezn and LG Uplus' U+ Mobile TV -- saw a decline in users last year to come in fourth and fifth, respectively.

This undated graphic, provided by Tving, shows its logo. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The stellar performance by Tving came with its official spinoff from its mother company CJ ENM in October last year.

Originally launched by CJ ENM as its online video-on-demand service, Tving was separated from the mother company last year and partnered with cable network JTBC to set up a new joint venture.

It said it will invest more than 400 billion won (US$362.5 million) to create original content over the next three years and expand its market share with over 5 million paid subscribers by 2023.

As part of its strategy, the company improved the membership system for its subscription-based streaming service to allow subscribers to enjoy all channels run by CJ ENM and JTBC live as well as previous hit TV series, films and variety shows.

It also joined hands with Naver, South Korea's No. 1 online portal operator, to integrate Tving into Naver's special subscription service.

At the same time, Coupang, South Korea's leading e-commerce operator, waded into the highly competitive OTT market last year.

Subscribers to the premium delivery service on its e-commerce platform will have access to Coupang Play, which has secured content from local film distributors NEW and Show Box like "Train to Busan" (2016).

This image provided by Tving shows a poster of the company's first original series "Girls High School Investigation Class." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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