Disney+ partners with telecom operators for South Korea launch

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SEOUL, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Walt Disney Co. plans to challenge the dominance of Netflix in South Korea by joining hands with the country’s top telecom operators ahead of the launch of its streaming service Disney+ on Nov. 12.

KT, South Korea’s second-largest mobile operator, said Wednesday it had signed an agreement with Walt Disney Co. Korea that includes discount offers to customers who subscribe to Disney+.

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The Seoul-based company plans to roll out a dedicated monthly subscription plan so that its users can access Disney content, including Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

KT did not disclose additional details.

Walt Disney Co. Korea announced in August that it would launch its Disney+ services with a monthly subscription fee of $8.50.

“The partnership with Disney+ will enable our clients to enjoy more content,” KT Senior Vice President Park Hyun-jin said in a statement.

Last month, KT competitor LG Uplus said it would offer Disney+ content to its Internet-protocol TV users.

“We expect collaboration with more partners in South Korea so that people can enjoy our content more easily and conveniently,” Disney Korea CEO Oh Sang-ho said during an online press conference Thursday.

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Disney+ launched in November 2019, attracting more than 100 million paid subscribers in almost two years. But the service still lags behind Netflix, which has a user base of more than 200 million.

Disney+ is trying to take on Netflix by introducing over-the-top streaming services in places including South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in November.

In Korea, Netflix has led the market with 7.9 million monthly active users as of the end of June, followed by local platform Wavve with 3.9 million users, according to market tracker Nielsen Koreanclick.

Observers expect the competition between Netflix and Disney+ to be stiff.

“Disney+ will put forth great efforts to challenge Netflix, which accounts for about 50 percent of the South Korean market. Netflix will not sit idly to lose its market share,” HMC Investment & Securities analyst Kim Hyun-yong told UPI News Korea.

“Their competition will be really fierce, eventually increasing the penetration ratio of OTT services here, which stands at roughly 40 percent.”

Early this year, Netflix promised to invest $500 million in films and series produced in South Korea in 2021. Its Korean thriller Squid Game is the platform’s most streamed show in every market where it is available.

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