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‘We will not dabble’ in Asian content production, says Disney’s Luke Kang

Disney’s Asia-Pacific president Luke Kang says that the group is preparing to do battle with other companies to become a significant player in Korean and Japanese original production.

“We are not going to dabble. We are going to be a major player,” said Kang on Tuesday. He was speaking from the virtual stage of the APOS media and tech conference operated by consultancy and analysis firm Media Partners Asia.

He revealed no new titles, but instead teased an upcoming content showcase event and spoke of Korean series. In May, Disney struck a content production deal with Studio & New, an offshoot of Next Entertainment World.

Speakers at previous editions of APOS have suggested that global media corporations, as they have launched direct-to-consumer streaming services, have been surprised by the need for a greater supply of fresh content than they had calculated.

“We always knew that local content would be really important. We will figure out [the volume] going forward,” said Kang. But he conceded that Disney has altered its decision-making process since launching the Disney Plus streaming service.

“We are thinking differently than we used to pre-D2C. We get a lot more data in real time,” said Kang. “We are learning that we need to be very broad. We will be doing a lot of local and regional content across multiple markets, to make our service better, more exciting, more localized.”

Kang suggested that Korean content would on its streaming services would be an important feature in its penetration of other parts of Asia. “We are excited about bringing our Korean and Japanese investments into other markets, such as Indonesia.”

The company is in the process of closing more than a dozen linear channels in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. These are making way for its streaming offers, which are branded as Disney Plus in affluent markets such as Australia and Singapore, and as Disney Plus Hotstar, and sold at significantly lower price points in less developed territories such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The Disney Plus service has been soft-launched in Japan, but has yet to be upgraded with the Star content. The company has also said that it will launch in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong from November.

“SVOD is the ultimate scalable business. And scale really matters,” said Kang. “Previously there were all kinds of walled gardens. SVOD allows you to build a global platform.” Variety

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