Netflix has been the leading streaming giant for a long time. As the streaming industry has seen a rise in recent years, new firms flood the market and battle for viewers’ attention. As new players enter the fray and threaten Netflix’s dominance, competition has heated up, focusing on critical areas such as pricing tactics, affordability, and the creation of distinctive and fascinating content that can attract and retain users.


The ongoing strike in Hollywood is considered one of the biggest strikes in decades. The writer’s and actors’ unions are on strike and are demanding an increase in pay and better working conditions. While much of the attention has been focused on creatives in the United States, a new report reveals that the same problem is playing out in South Korea. The country that has generated some of the hit shows for Netflix has waged a war against the streaming giant.

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Netflix gives the cold shoulder to the South Korean Union

South Korean actors in Netflix originals want better pay. The company refuses to meet with their union
A poster of Netflix’s show featured in South Korea

Netflix, the streaming giant, has been in the limelight due to the various it is making to face its competitors. During the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Netflix earned a particularly bad reputation in the United States for how it pays and treats its actors. The streamers have landed in hot waters for its unusually low compensation for the actors of various shows.

The war against the streaming giant has traveled to South Korea. Netflix has a huge presence in the country and has produced many successful shows. K-dramas on the platform are become popular and are highly watched by subscribers. Squid Game which landed on the streaming giant conquered the world and was a massive hit.

According to a LA Times investigation, the South Korean actors in Netflix originals are fighting for more pay. Song Chang-gon, head of the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union, told the outlet that he has been attempting to contact the company’s executives to address the issue that it does not pay.

Despite its large presence in the country, Netflix has refused to meet with the Korean Broadcasting Actors Union. Kim Ju-ho, secretary-general of the rights association said,

“A precondition for that conversation about residuals was Netflix’s business successfully taking off here… Netflix has made a lot of money from South Korean content. It’s now time to meet.”

After all this issue, the company has generally gotten away with ignoring labor unions thanks to its outsourcing model, which does not qualify the streamer as an employer in South Korea.

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Netflix has housed many Korean original shows 

A still from Netflix's Squid Game
A still from Netflix’s Squid Game

Netflix has spent the last few years getting ahead of the curve in terms of K-dramas and other programs, forging arrangements with local carriers to gain access to a wide range of titles from South Korea. Netflix has become the go-to place to find the best Kdrama offerings for US audiences.

The streaming giant began experimenting with Korean originals, beginning with Kingdom in 2019. Kingdom is a political thriller that takes place in a fictional, medieval-inspired Joseon (modern-day Korea) in the 16th century, three years after the end of the Imjin War. The thriller series was a hit on the platform.

Another major hit from Netflix was Squid Game. The series conquered the world with its captivating plot. It became a sensational show and the streamer’s most-watched show ever. The production of the show only costs $21.4 million, or $2.4 million per episode. However, the impact value of the South Korean program was $891.1 million.

After the success of Squid Game, the company has invested another $2.5 billion into finding the next big project in that market. But it looks like Netflix might lose South Korea as the company refuses to come to the table for the conversations with the union.

Also Read: Major Studios Including Disney and Netflix Finally Bend the Knee, Reportedly Forced to Negotiate Amid Writers Strike

Source: Los Angeles Times

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