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Paramount+ launches in South Korea

Paramount+ made its debut in Asia on Thursday with the launch of its streaming service in South Korea atop local streaming platform TVING, operated by Korean entertainment heavyweight CJ ENM. Effective immediately, existing TVING subscribers can stream Paramount+ content at no extra charge.

The launch is part of a strategic global partnership between Paramount Global and CJ ENM that includes content licensing and distribution across Paramount+ and TVING, as well as seven Korean original series, the partners said in a statement. The launch will add to the heated struggle among Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, TVING and others for Korea’s globally bankable content and growing local subscriber pool.

TVING is a joint venture between CJ ENM, Korean Internet company Naver and television network JTBC, with CJ ENM holding the majority control. To date, the platform’s content offering has been dominated by local Korean dramas from CJ and JTBC. As of the fourth quarter of 2021, TVING had an 18 percent share of the Korean subscription streaming market, trailing Netflix at 33 percent, according to an estimate from regional consultancy Media Partners Asia. Disney+ was believed to have a 7 percent share at the time, with total SVOD subscriptions in the country reaching 14.1 million.

The new partnership brings a raft of Paramount content to South Korean for the first time, such as Paramount+ originals like Halo, Yellowjackets, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, Mayor of Kingstown and 1883. TVING will also get a sizable content boost from the Paramount Global library making its way to the platform — franchises like Mission: Impossible, Top Gun, Transformers, The Godfather and Forrest Gump; CBS series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NCIS; and animated favorites like SpongeBob Squarepants and South Park.

The first Korean production resulting from the partnership will be Yonder, set to premiere later this year on TVING in Korea. Yonder also will launch on Paramount+ in all international markets where the service is available.

Set in 2032, Yonder is a sci-fi drama series about a man who receives a message from his deceased wife inviting him to the mysterious space called Yonder. The space is designed for the dead to be able to live on by uploading memories of their lifetime from their brain. The show raises questions about life and death and what it means to have eternal happiness as humanity faces a world altered by advancements in science and technology. Director and cast details were not revealed.

The two partners say they also are looking at opportunities and projects for Korean adaptations of known Paramount IPs, including franchises, scripted properties and reality shows.

Mark Specht, executive vp and managing director, Central and Northern Europe and Asia, Paramount, said, “The launch of Paramount+ in Korea with TVING marks a pivotal moment in our expansion, as we introduce our premium streaming service to Asia. South Korea is a vibrant market for streaming as well as content production, music, and culture. We are very excited to partner with CJ ENM to expand our streaming business and produce great Korean content for audiences in Korea, Asia, and around the globe.”

Jay Yang, CEO of TVING, commented “Please look forward to the well-made, various K-content that will enter the global market through the partnership of No.1 K-content platform TVING and one of the top entertainment companies, Paramount.” The Hollywood Reporter

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